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Eugene tracking coronavirus 'hour-by-hour,' Mayor Vinis says

The city council heard from Lane County Public Health, the city manager and Eugene Springfield Fire.

Posted: Mar 11, 2020 7:01 PM
Updated: Mar 11, 2020 7:11 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Eugene City Council learned more about novel coronavirus during a work session on Wednesday with a briefing from Lane County Public Health, the city manager and Eugene Springfield Fire.

Lane County Public Health told the council they are currently monitoring 12 people in the community who have not shown any symptoms of the virus.

The city manager also said they are working with the county to put in place public hand washing stations for the homeless. Mayor Lucy Vinis said that's something she wants see.

"We all recognize this is an urgent need, particularly for people who are unhoused. We want to protect them," Vinis said.

At the end of the meeting, a man in the audience lashed out at the city council, saying more needs to be done, and the city council shouldn't take their spring break. While the council isn't set to meet again until April 8, Vinis said they can be called back in case of emergency and the city manager can also address issues.

"We are tracking this on an hour-by-hour basis," Vinis said. "We are working with our partners, and we will act as needed as this situation unfolds."

Eugene Springfield Fire Chief Chris Heppel said they have already started preparing for the coronavirus. He said first responders have protective gear with them when they respond to any flu-like calls. He said last week they did a simulation with the local hospitals to practice transporting someone who may have the virus.

"We worked with the staff to practice that safe hand-off of someone who potential has or has COVID-19 and how the process would go to make sure those things went smooth," Heppel said.

Heppel said right now they are working to mitigate the spread of the virus and said public buildings have stepped up their cleaning efforts.

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