State of Oregon Coronavirus Daily News Update and Preparedness

Monday, October 26, 2020 update

The state’s death toll from COVID-19 is unchanged from yesterday and remains at 653.  Oregon Health Authority reported 366 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, today bringing the state total to 42,101.

The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (6), Benton (5), Clackamas (17), Clatsop (1), Columbia (3), Coos (2), Crook (4), Deschutes (13), Douglas (4), Jackson (20), Jefferson (1), Josephine (3), Klamath (2), Lake (1), Lane (30), Lincoln (2), Linn (5), Malheur (6), Marion (88), Morrow (2), Multnomah (82), Polk (1), Umatilla (5), Union (1), Wallowa (2), Washington (57), and Yamhill (3).

Two new cases were reported in Klamath County. Since the pandemic began, Klamath County has confirmed 416 cases and had three deaths connected to Covid.   11716 residents in the county have tested negative.

Twenty new cases were reported in Jackson County overnight. In the Grants Pass area, Four new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Josephine County, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 266.

Halloween Safety Questions Answered

COVID-19 is reshaping how Oregonians celebrate holidays, including Halloween. But that doesn’t mean Halloween can’t still be spooky and fun this year!

Yesterday, OHA held a Facebook Live with public health physicians, Dr. Shimi Sharief and Dr. Claire Poche, to answer questions and offer tips on how to celebrate Halloween safely. Here is the VIDEO with answers to safeguard children.

Follow the links below to view the video.

English link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPn6fT6BrcQ&feature=youtu.be

Survey results: Most state residents wear masks in public, but many continue to gather socially on a frequent basis

Two surveys released today show that a large majority of people in Oregon are taking steps to limit their exposure to the COVID-19 virus.  

A survey of 1,000 Oregonians, conducted by DHM Research, found the following: 

  • More than eight in 10 report wearing masks nearly all of the time while in public indoor spaces. 
  • More than two in three avoid crowded places. 
  • More than six in 10 are staying 6 feet apart when in public. 

The survey also found the following about how often people attend gatherings: 

  • Half of Oregonians report attending about four or more social gatherings in the previous two weeks. 
  • One in five Oregonians say they have attended at least one social gathering of more than 10 people in the past two weeks. 
  • 16% of respondents said they participated in 11 or more social gatherings in the previous two weeks.  

A separate survey of 468 Latinx Oregonians conducted in Spanish by Lara Media found the following: 

  • 87% of respondents report wearing a face mask nearly all of the time while in public indoor spaces. 
  • More than half of respondents avoid crowded places. 
  • More than six in 10 are staying 6 feet apart when in public.  

The survey found different levels of concern about COVID-19 among respondents based on age, geography, political views and race/ethnicity. Latinos expressed higher levels of concern than whites and reported wearing masks more frequently. Members of the Latinx community have accounted for nearly 40% of Oregon’s COVID-19 cases. 

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said, “These results show that nearly all Oregonians understand it’s important to wear a mask. But fewer Oregonians believe they’re at risk of getting sick and too many people are socializing indoors in bigger groups. It’s hard to sustain the changes we’ve all had to make in our lives to keep ourselves and others safe from COVID-19. But we won’t be able to prevent more infections, and get more schools and businesses open in Oregon, until more people act with urgency and avoid the social super-spreader gatherings that have driven COVID-19 transmission and disease in Oregon.” 

FLU SHOTS RECOMMENDED

Flu shots more important than ever – don’t wait to vaccinate!

Especially as COVID-19 continues to spread

OHA is urging everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu shot, especially as COVID-19 cases increase in Oregon, and the pandemic persists.

“Flu vaccines are safe and effective, and with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is more important than ever to get a flu shot to keep the people around you healthy,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority. 

While it is unclear how the pandemic will affect the flu season, OHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are preparing for COVID-19 and seasonal flu to spread at the same time. A “twindemic” of two potentially fatal viruses circulating at the same time could burden the state’s health care system and result in many illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths, Cieslak said. Getting a flu vaccine is something easy people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones and help reduce the spread of flu this fall and winter.

The flu vaccine may take up to two weeks to become effective, so getting it earlier in the season – like now is ideal. That’s why OHA is promoting a “Don’t Wait to Vaccinate” campaign with social media cards and other messaging starting today.

Flu vaccine is available from health care providers, local health departments and many pharmacies. The vaccine is free or low cost with most health insurance plans. To find a flu vaccine clinic, visit http://www.flu.oregon.gov/ and use OHA’s flu vaccine locator tool.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the flu. Additional ways Oregonians can help prevent the spread of flu include:

  • Staying home from work or school when you are sick and limit contact with others.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may have flu germs on them.
  • Avoiding getting coughed and sneezed on.

Tips for getting Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) services

DMV is continuing to improve its services by adding more appointments, expanding online services and retrofitting offices to catch up with its backlog. However, customers who need DMV services this fall and into 2021, should start early to set an appointment. You can schedule, change or cancel an appointment using the DMVs has a new online appointment scheduling tool.

DMV2U, DMV’s Online Service Center, is the place to go to schedule appointments, replace your card, change your address, purchase permits and other DMV services. This Oregon Department of Transportation press release also offers helpful tips for using the DMV.  

Protecting eyes during screen time

With so many children and college students attending school online, and adults working from home, you may be wondering about how to keep your and your children’s eyes healthy. Staring at digital devices and computer screens can cause eye strain.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends blinking often and following the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes look away from the computer at something that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Keeping your face covering effective during rainy weather

Rain is coming. Throughout much of Oregon people are used to getting wet, and in fact many don’t even bother with carrying an umbrella. But rainy weather is yet another part of life that’s a little different during the COVID-19 pandemic.

See the graphic below for some tips on how to deal with rain and face coverings.

Are you ready to talk to your children about playdates?

The conversation is bound to happen, if it hasn’t happened to you as a parent already. What are you prepared to say when your child asks about spending time with friends?

If you’re not comfortable with playdates yet:

  • For younger children, you can keep it simple.
  • For teens, you can point them to the facts about the virus.

The Harvard Health Blog has many useful tips for what to do if your teen pushes back about staying home during COVID-19.

This article from Children’s Hospital of Orange County also explains what you can do to help your children cope with missing their friends.

If you are ready for your kids to spend time with friends again:

To learn more about having difficult conversations with children, friends and family about COVID-19, visit the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health website.

How to talk to kids about spending time with friends

How to comfortably wear a face covering in the heat

As temperatures climb into the 90s in many parts of Oregon, it might feel out of place to wear a mask. But it’s still true that wearing a face covering will help slow the spread of COVID-19. The graphic below lists some ways to make wearing a mask more comfortable as temperatures rise.

Also remember to take the same precautions you would on other hot days:

  • Stay in air-conditioned places, if possible. Avoid relying on a fan as your main cooling device, particularly when the temperature is 90 or above.
  • Limit exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., when temperatures are highest. Schedule activities in the morning and evening.
  • Use cool compresses, misting, and cool showers and baths.
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car. (Pets shouldn’t be left in parked cars either — they can suffer heat-related illness, too.)
  • Even during the summer, the power can go out. Have a plan to stay cool if the power goes out.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, especially while working outside.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar.

Learn more about staying safe in hot weather.  

To see more case and county-level data, go to the Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 website: www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus

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