State of Oregon Coronavirus Daily News Update and Preparedness

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 update

Oregon reports 1,011 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 21 new deaths

COVID-19 has claimed 21 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 847, the Oregon Health Authority reported Wednesday morning. The total number of Oregonians hospitalized with COVID-19 also increased, along with the number of people with the virus who are in intensive care.

OHA also reported 1,011 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 67,333.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (20), Clackamas (106), Clatsop (7), Columbia (7), Coos (4), Crook (3), Curry (7), Deschutes (44), Douglas (19), Grant (4), Harney (2), Hood River (6), Jackson (56), Jefferson (12), Josephine (19), Klamath (60), Lake (9), Lane (57), Lincoln (23), Linn (21), Malheur (17), Marion (113), Morrow (5), Multnomah (150), Polk (30), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (34), Union (4), Wasco (9), Washington (183), and Yamhill (24).

Oregon sets another grim record with 21 COVID-19 deaths reported in a single day

We are saddened to report that the 21 COVID-19 deaths that health officials are reporting today set a one-day record.

“We feel pain and sorrow for our neighbors who’ve lost their lives to COVID-19 and the families they leave behind,” said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen. “And each death we record is a reminder that COVID-19 is a life-threatening virus that’s easy to catch, a warning that more Oregonians will die if we don’t contain it and a call to action to stop its spread.”

Keep doing your part to help reduce the spread of the virus: Wear a mask, keep six feet between you and other people when you’re in public, and wash your hands often. In addition, all Oregon counties are currently subject to a two-week freeze, which recommends that you limit the size of your social gatherings to six people or fewer and gather with no more than one other household at a time.

You can reduce your risk of getting or spread COVID-19 by keeping your social gatherings: small, brief, outdoors, physically distant.

Readers share tips about face coverings

We know that wearing a face covering correctly – that is, over your mouth and nose – is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. People in Oregon are extremely creative and willing to go the extra mile to make wearing a face covering work for them. We asked Coronavirus Update readers to share their tips. Here’s some of what they told us: 

If your glasses are fogging up: 

  • Fold a tissue into a small rectangle and put in under the mask on the bridge of your nose.  
  • Raise the top of the face covering so that it’s under the bottom edge of your glasses.  
  • Use anti-fog spray or cloths. 
  • Rubbing soap on your glasses, then wiping it off with a microfiber cloth without rinsing. This can also work for a clear mask that may be worn to make it easier for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing to understand.  
  • Put a piece of paper medical tape or adhesive bandage across the top of the mask.  
  • Rub a pea-sized drop of shaving cream on your eyeglass lenses to prevent fogging. Do not use shaving cream with moisturizers. Polish until clear.  
  • Use a bit of vinegar and hot water on the lenses. 

To make it more comfortable: 

  • Repurpose swimsuits to make comfortable straps.  
  • Sew on the closure from a coffee bean bag, a pipe cleaner or twist tie from electronics packaging for a nose strip.  
  • Tie a string or ribbon to the elastic so the mask is secured around the head rather than behind the ears 
  • Slip your mask over the arm of your glasses (near your ear) to reduce pressure on your ears. 

To remember your face covering: 

  • Wear it on a lanyard.
  • Leave some extras in your glove compartment.
  • Keep an extra in your bag.
  • Keep it with your wallet and keys. 

One reader named Kathy reminded us why we wear face coverings, “Masks are about freedom! Freedom to stay safe and keep others safe, so you can do MORE.” 

Woman with baseball cap from the side wearing face mask with elastic around a button sewn onto baseball cap

Val sewed buttons by hand using needle and thread onto all of her baseball caps, a winter hat and a fleece ear warmer. If you place the buttons a little up and behind your ears, it solves three problems: 1) no painful ears 2) no slipping down the nose 3) less foggy glasses because the mask is more snug. Buttons need to be larger than shirt size, about 1/2″ diameter or a little larger seems to be best.

#MyORHealth horizontal rule

Ideas for celebrating holiday meals safely

Gathering around a table for a holiday meal will look different this year. During the freeze, only two households can gather together with no more than six people together total. Remember it’s safest to enjoy your holiday meal with only the people you live with.

If you choose to celebrate with the lowest risk for spreading COVID-19, here are some ideas: 

  • Join friends and family over a video call. Setting the computer at the end of your tables can make it look like you’re all at a long table together.   
  • Cook a pie or favorite dish and drop it off on your loved one’s home without contact.  
  • Exchange photos of the people (or food) at your meal with the people you would normally invite.  
  • Send an email or letter with stories or memories from past holidays to let people know you’re thinking of them. 

If you do decide to gather with another household at your home, the graphic below has suggestions for eating together safely.

Do not share food or utensils with them. Instead of dining family style or serving buffet-style

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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