June 25, 2020

The Union County Incident Management Team will be hosting a community briefing on Tuesday, June 30 at 6:00 p.m.  The purpose of the meeting will be an opportunity for leadership to answer key questions that have been surfacing locally regarding COVID-19.  Due to physical distancing requirements, the briefing will be provided virtually and live-streamed on the NE Oregon Joint Information Center Facebook page.  The briefing will also be available for later viewing at www.neojic.union-county.org.

It is important that as a community we maintain perspective on the primary management objective of the COVID-19 incident.  Since we became aware of COVID-19, the objective has been to flatten the curve with a goal of maintaining Grande Ronde Hospital’s capacity to provide health care to our local community and manage the virus spread to minimize impacts to vulnerable populations.  To date, this goal has been largely successful.  Coordination occurs on a daily basis with our hospital partners and they continue to communicate that they are successfully supporting the healthcare needs of our community.  The Incident Management Team would like the community to continue to be vigilant, supportive of one another, continue good hygiene, wear a cloth face covering if you are unable to maintain a physical distance of six feet from others, and stay home if you have symptoms of the illness.  As discussed since early in the incident, stopping the spread of a novel virus is not possible.  Managing the spread to maintain hospital capacity and protect our vulnerable populations such as long-term care facilities, is the priority.

Staying home while you’re feeling ill can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.  Employees may feel personal pressure as well as employer pressure to try and work through a mild illness.  It is important that employers support their staff by encouraging them to stay home when they are sick.  You may feel well enough to work with mild symptoms, but please stay home for at least 72 hours after all symptoms (such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, diarrhea) have been resolved. Individuals who have been tested for COVID-19 are reminded that self-isolation/quarantine is necessary to lower the chance of spreading illness. This includes not attending any activities or gatherings outside your home such as work, school, health care, faith-based facilities, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. This also includes not allowing guests to visit you at your home.

Multiple resources are available through wraparound services for individuals who have been instructed to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.  Some of these resources include financial assistance, food bank information, grocery pickup/delivery, health insurance, and Veterans services.  Information is available at: http://neojic.union-county.org/2020/06/23/wrap-resources/.

Today, Oregon Health Authority announced 10 new confirmed cases for Union County bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 297.  Union County has a total of 1,379 negative tests returned according to the Oregon Health Authority website. Wallowa County has a total of eight cases.  Investigations, contact tracings, and additional testing continue in both counties.  Statewide, there are a total of 7,568 cases.