SALEM, Ore. (KDRV) — Governor Kate Brown on Friday announced the formation of a Coronavirus Response Team in preparation for a potential outbreak.
The response team will be tasked with coordinating state and local health authorities, building on the work of the Oregon Health Authority's coronavirus incident management team.
Tips for preventing the spread of the coronavirus include:
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces people often touch.
- Consult travel advisories if you plan to travel outside of the U.S.
- Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
“Let me be clear, as of today there are zero confirmed cases of coronavirus in Oregon, and the risk to Oregonians of contracting the coronavirus remains low," Governor Brown reiterated. “However, in an escalating global health crisis, we must make sure we are as ready and informed as we can be."
In an effort to coordinate coronavirus response and preparation, the response team will be tasked with meeting regularly and updating the Governor as the situation develops.
"The purpose of the Coronavirus Response Team is to ensure we are taking every precaution necessary, in coordination with local health authorities, hospitals, community health partners, and school districts, to make sure that Oregon is fully prepared to respond to any outbreaks of the coronavirus and that Oregonians know how they can keep their families safe,” Brown said.
The Governor's office provided a list of steps that Oregon agencies have already taken to prepare:
- State agencies are reviewing readiness plans to ensure state government is able to maintain a continuity of operations and services in the event that coronavirus impacts agency operations.
- State, county, and tribal health officials are monitoring people who may have come into contact with the disease or traveled to mainland China for symptoms like coughing or fever during the two weeks after they return, providing health education, and are prepared to link people with appropriate health care if symptoms develop.
- Starting this week, OHA is providing weekly public updates about how many people are being monitored in Oregon, as well as sharing updates about how Oregon families can help prevent the spread of coronavirus on OHA’s COVID-19 website.
- Oregon hospitals and health providers have scaled up their preparedness efforts, and OHA is conducting ongoing outreach to health facilities to support training and preparedness, as well as monitoring health care availability and needs.
“Oregon has proven its resiliency in preparing for and responding to Ebola, H1N1 influenza, Zika, and other global public health threats,” said OHA Director Pat Allen. “Each time, Oregon’s public health and health care systems and their partners have found ways to strengthen our collective response. If the coronavirus comes to Oregon, we will be ready.”
Much like with the flu, authorities say that the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to practice good hygiene with regular handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, regularly cleaning workplaces, kitchens and bathrooms, and staying home when sick or showing symptoms.