Public health officials are offering updated guidance for individuals with questions about testing for COVID-19.
Central Oregon public health officials recommend that individuals with concerns about COVID-19 and their health first call their local health care provider. The provider can determine if individuals need to be seen and let them know what their next steps should be. This allows local emergency rooms the capacity to care for those with critical health needs.
Currently, Oregon Health Authority recommends that physicians rule out influenza and other common respiratory pathogens prior to testing for COVID-19.
Local public health officials recommend that, as with flu, most people with COVID-19 can recover at home without problems. Most people with COVID-19 appear to have mild symptoms that do not require a medical visit. Those with fever and cough who have trouble breathing, or feel faint, or parents of a child who gets bluish color of the skin around the mouth should dial 9-1-1.
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. The goal of medical care is to support the person who is ill, supply oxygen if needed, and help lessen the symptoms until the immune system kicks in and kills the virus.
Calling ahead before seeking medical attention is an important step in protecting the health of the public and health care providers. Those who seek care at a clinic or hospital may be asked to:
- Wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Put on a mask to limit spread of the virus.
- Make sure to keep their distance from other individuals.
GENERAL STATUS UPDATE
On Sunday, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in Oregon, which she said would give Oregon Health Authority and the Office of Emergency Management “all the resources at our state’s disposal to stem the spread of this disease.”
The state of emergency will remain in effect for 60 days but can be extended as needed.
Local health officials and emergency managers continue to work closely with their counterparts at the Oregon Health Authority and Office of Emergency Management to monitor developments and statewide impacts.
CORONAVIRUS VS. COVID-19
For individuals with questions about the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19, public health officials have some clear distinctions. Some coronavirus strains are common throughout the world, most cause mild to moderate illness and are one cause of a common cold. COVID-19 is a new or novel coronavirus that can cause a more serious respiratory illness in people. Individuals can be diagnosed with a coronavirus that is not COVID-19. (See attached flyer for more information.)
PUBLIC OUTREACH EFFORTS
In addition to the COEIN joint efforts, many partners are also sharing supporting materials and messages with their clients, staff and members of the public.
A few of these resources include:
- Deschutes County Public Health – updated webpage and daily email
- St. Charles Health System – community updates and message from CEO Joe Sluka
- Bend-La Pine Schools – resources for families in English and Spanish
- Central Oregon Community College – updated webpage
- Crook County Health Department – updated webpage
- Deschutes Public Library System – updated webpage