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What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

 

The rapidly developing information we learn about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is deeply concerning, but there is much we can do to stay healthy and prevent further spread. I am closely following this situation and want to provide some helpful facts and resources, listed below, to help answer questions that members of our community may have.

 

Coronavirus in Oregon

The first positive test in Oregon for the coronavirus COVID-19 occurred on Feb. 28, 2020 in Washington County. The presumed case is believed to be the result of ‘community spread,’ which means that the person tested positive even though they had not traveled recently and do not have any known connection to someone with a confirmed coronavirus case.

 

Health officials are actively following the situation and the most up-to date information about the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and the number of people being monitored can be found on the Oregon Health Authority’s website.

 

Tips to Stay Healthy

Members of our community should continue going about their daily lives while taking simple precautions like washing their hands to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19. We are still learning more about how the coronavirus is transmitted, but most cases are believed to be the result of close contact –  within 6 feet of someone with an infection –  or through coughs and sneezes, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

 

The CDC recommends:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

There is not currently a vaccine for COVID-19, but development is underway. As always, members of our community are advised to get their annual flu shot.

 

Symptoms

The symptoms for COVID-19 are a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. They may develop between 2-14 days after exposure to the coronavirus, according to the CDC’s most recent analysis.

 

If you believe you may have COVID-19, the CDC and Oregon Health Authority recommend contacting your health care provider to determine whether you should come in for examination and testing. Anyone exhibiting symptoms for the coronavirus – or even more common varieties of the flu – should stay home except to receive medical care. More details about what you should do if you believe you are sick can be found here.

 

Resources

The best source for information about the coronavirus COVID-19 in Oregon is on the Oregon Health Authority’s website. For general information, you can also call 211. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911.

 

A guide on how to access federal help can be found here.

 

Additional resources:

 

Congressional Action

The coronavirus has quickly and severely disrupted the lives of people in NW Oregon and across the country, putting the health of loved ones at risk and jeopardizing our economic security. Many families and individuals are left to wonder how they will put food on the table in the face of sudden unemployment, businesses are struggling to survive, and health care workers are distressed about how to care for patients and themselves with limited personal protective equipment.

This pandemic has rapidly inflicted damage of an unprecedented scale, and Congress must immediately provide a broad response to support to our communities. We already passed four significant bipartisan packages of legislation to start sending help where it is needed most, to workers. I am pleased that the third bipartisan package included many of the priorities I advocated for after speaking with Oregonians. To help provide financial stability, the bill includes direct cash assistance to individuals, expanded unemployment insurance, and relief for student borrowers. Forgivable loans will help small businesses, non-profits, and arts organizations stay afloat. Seniors in long term care facilities, who are among the most vulnerable to this pandemic, will benefit from access to advocates at a time when most family members and visitors are not allowed to visit because of safety guidelines. And health care workers will receive additional resources as they serve our country.

I am continuing to fight for robust child care support, increased funding and capabilities for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, funding for workers, and regulatory relief for our credit unions to make it easier for them to lend to small businesses. I am also fighting to make sure that our state and local governments receive more funding, students and teachers have the resources they need, people receive additional direct payments and have access to important programs like SNAP, post offices are given support to keep operating, and that our immigrant community is included in future relief efforts. 

I will continue advocating for the resources our community needs to stay healthy and contain the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible. More information about my work on the coronavirus relief packages can be found here:

 

Community Resources

Oregon Employment Department can assist workers who have been laid off and help them access the expanded Unemployment Insurance that Congress recently passed.

There are low-interest loans available to small business owners and non-profits of any size through the Small Business Administration.

Many utilities are waiving late fees and stopping disconnections during the pandemic. Contact your utility for more information.

PGE Website or call 503-228-6322

Pacific Power Website or call 888-221-7070

NW Natural Website or call 800-422-4012

The Oregon Public Utilities Commission customer service staff can also answer questions by email at puc.consumers@state.or.us or by phone at 503-378-6600.

Oregon Food Bank can support families who are facing food insecurity. Because of my bipartisan bill to allow schools to continue feeding children during closures, many school districts are offering meals at grab-and-go sites. Check your local school district for information on hours and locations.

Oregon is making temporary changes to child care benefits to help families pay for care. Contact Department of Human Services at 1-800-699-9074 to see if your family may be eligible.

The Oregon Department of Justice  is ready to assist consumers who may have experienced price gouging at 503-378-8442.

 

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