Douglas Co. Government
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News Release
03-24-20 Daily Local Update COVID-19 Evening - 03/24/20

Joint Release from Douglas County Board of Commissioners and Douglas Public Health Network

(Douglas County, Ore.) The main topic today was that Douglas County has two more confirmed cases. We want to assure the public that your Douglas County Commissioners, Douglas County Public Health Officer, Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer, Douglas Public Health Network, Douglas County Emergency Services and local health partners are quickly stepping into action.  DPHN has launched their epidemiology investigation related to these two new cases, identifying who these individuals may have had contact with.  Identifying information about the two new residents with COVID-19 is not being released at this time. Close contacts of the confirmed cases will be notified by public health.

"We know that COVID-19 is already here, in Douglas County, and although we are still waiting on dozens of test results to come back, the early numbers coming in of positive and negative tests tell us that our efforts of social distancing to reduce the spread of the disease is working. It is not a time to give up our efforts, the next 14 days will be critical,” says Laura Turpen, Communicable Disease Epidemiologist at DPHN.

Local COVID-19 Partial Test Results

Tuesday, March 24, 2020, County Public Health officials reported two new cases of COVID-19 in Douglas County, bringing the confirmed number of cases in the county to three.  Partial results are back from the Douglas Public Health Network sponsored COVID-19 Drive-thru clinics last week, but DPHN is still waiting on the majority of those test results.  The two new confirmed positive cases were not from the drive-thru clinic.  Of the 52 tests done at the drive-thru clinics on March 17th and 20th, 6 have been returned as negative.  DPHN reports that as of 12:30 today, Tuesday March 24th, we are still waiting on the remaining 46 tests.

Oregon COVID-19 Case Update

As of today, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Oregon official COVID-19 count is at 209 cases.  Three more deaths have been reported bringing Oregon’s COVID-19 related death toll to 8.  The breakdown of cases: Washington County 76 cases; Marion County 32 cases; Multnomah County 25 cases; Linn County 20 cases; Clackamas County 17 cases; Deschutes County 10 cases; Yamhill County 6 cases; Benton and Lane County 4 cases each; Polk and Jackson County 3 cases each; Umatilla County 2 cases; and Douglas, Clatsop, Grant, Klamath, Union, Josephine and Hood River County 1 case each. 

Third Local COVID-19 Testing Clinic Today

Douglas Public Health Network hosted a third COVID-19 drive-through clinic today, Tuesday, March 24 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.  45 residents were scheduled to be tested today.  Those residents and were identified by their health care provider, as patients that are symptomatic, and needed to be tested.  They followed the same procedure as previously established, with residents presenting their test order at the drive-thru clinic, getting their specimen collected and then having their test flown to a Quest Lab for processing.  Results will be sent back in about a week to the health care provider that ordered the test.  Those tested are asked to please self-quarantine at home and continue to quarantine for 72 hours after symptoms subside.

At this time, you can only get a COVID-19 test through your healthcare provider. Information has been given to providers and clinics about how to get their patients signed up for the drive-through testing process.  Tests are currently being processed at the Oregon State Public Health Lab and a growing number of commercial labs, like Quest and LabCorp. There are very few outpatient clinics in Douglas County offering testing at this time. Community health partners are working very hard to make testing available to a wider number of people. The first drive thru testing site was piloted in the county on March 17.

Separating Fact from Fiction with COVID-19

Alongside genuine medical advice, false messages have been spreading, distorting the facts about COVID-19.  Whatever the advice, there's a great deal of misinformation online. Bogus messages have been circulating on Facebook claiming such things as:

Post:  You have to have a trip permit or special paperwork to drive anywhere or go to work.

False:  This a false statement.  You are currently not required to have a special permit or special paperwork to drive or go to work in Douglas County.  Some businesses and agencies are issuing travel letters to employees as a precautionary measure. 

Post:  All businesses, establishments and venues are supposed to be closed in Oregon.

False: No, the most recent Executive Orders 20-12 from Governor Brown clearly lists those businesses and venues that were temporarily closed. To read the March 23, 2020, Oregon Executive Order No. 20-12, Click Here.  Outside those closures, if a business can comply by the social distancing rules of 6 feet apart, then they are allowed to remain open for business.  Patrons are asked to comply by the social distancing, hand washing and stay home if you are sick orders. Here is a list of the open and closed businesses and venues:

OPEN: Grocery Stores; Banks; Pharmacies; Bars, restaurants (takeout and delivery only); Other businesses where social distancing can be practiced; Gas stations; County Government. Some have locked their doors, but are still doing business virtually or with limited contact, via phone, email, online or by appointment only. 

CLOSED: Malls and retails complexes; Fitness, yoga and dance centers; Barbershops, hair and nail salons, spas, cosmetic stores, tattoo parlors; Theaters, amusement parks, arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, museums; Concerts, sporting events, festivals; Campgrounds, pools, skate parks, playgrounds. 

Post:  You are not allowed to go outside for walks or ride your bike. 

False:  This also false.  While the Governor issued a ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, we have listed the do’s and don’ts from the campaign below.  Remember it is important for your mental and physical health, as well as stress relief, to eat healthy, exercise regularly and get enough rest.

DO: Do stay home as much as possible (kids, too); Do stay at least 6 feet away from others anytime you are out; Do only go out for essentials like work, groceries and medical care; Yes, Exercising, walking, bicycling outside is ok, as long as you can be 6 feet apart from others; Do try to utilize video and phone chats with family and friends; Do check on and drop off food to neighbors who are unable to go out – practicing social distancing measures; Do try to call and do business over the phone or by email; Do reschedule vacations.

DON’T: Do not gather in groups; Do not get together with friends or others for drinks or dinner; Do not have play dates for kids; Do not make unnecessary trips; Do not travel unless necessary.

Typically, the ‘fake news’ stories or posts are copied-and-pasted texts which claim to be from someone the forwarder says they know, often with a medical background.  99% of the time they are just hype and false.  Make sure you are getting accurate information from reputable sources.  Please be in the know, and only share accurate information.

Blood Donations Still Needed

Yes, these are uncertain times, but leaving home to donate blood is considered a lifesaving and essential need. Those who are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give blood or platelets, are urged to make an appointment to donate as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting www.RedCrossBlood.org or calling (800) 733-2767.? Donate your blood and save a life. There are a few upcoming blood drives scheduled in Douglas County this week and next. 

Red Cross Donor Center – 1176 NW Garden Valley Blvd in Roseburg

  • Friday, March 27 from 9am to 3pm
  • Monday, March 30 from 12:30pm to 6:30pm

Community Blood Drives

  • Friday, March 27 between 1pm to 6pm, Grocery Outlet, 130 Petite Street, Myrtle Creek
  • Tuesday, March 31 from 9am to 3pm, First Presbyterian Church, 823 SW Lane Ave, Roseburg

Greater Douglas United Way – Local COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

The Greater Douglas United Way (GDUW) has set up a local COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.  100% of your donation will go to help local people in need as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  GDUW has also pledged that they will not be charging any administrative fees on the fund.  GDUW will focus the funding on basic needs through local nonprofits, childcare needs, and other basic needs for people affected by the pandemic. Deposits can be made at any Banner Bank location using the GDUW COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. More information available at: GDUW website.

Statewide Employment and Economic Response to COVID-19

There are numerous resources available for Oregon businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are a few:

  • Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 Information & Resources page – Includes information for employers and employees here.
  • Layoff aversion – Limited grant funding is available through the Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board to help small businesses avert layoffs. Businesses in Douglas County can send inquiries to esponse@sowib.org">response@sowib.org
  • OEDA – The Oregon Economic Development Association has a list of helpful resources, from information on grants and loans to tips on negotiating rent relief with landlords.
  • Oregon Unemployment Department – The OED’s website has info for employees and employers on workplace safety, layoffs and unemployment benefits. 
  • Oregon Department of Revenue Website includes guidance on COVID-19 tax relief options.
  • The Manufacturing Extension Partnership Website highlights COVID-19 resources for Oregon manufacturers.
  • Oregon Department of Agriculture – Officers COVID-19 resource page with information about farm workers, animal health, food safety and more.
  • Business Oregon “Business Survival Tips” available in English and Spanish.
  • National Main Street Center – Offering a series of webinars to support local businesses and communities.

Stay Informed with the Accurate Information

Your Douglas County Board of Commissioners, Douglas County Public Health Official, Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer, officials from Douglas Public Health Network (DPHN), Douglas County Emergency Management, Aviva Health, Mercy Medical Center, Evergreen Family Medicine and Umpqua Health Alliance have been working hard to cooperatively provide accurate and timely COVID-19 information and response to Douglas County residents.

If you have questions about resources available, call the COVID-19 hotline, staffed by local volunteers at (541) 464-6550. 

Stay up to date on COVID-19 in Douglas County on the DPHN website at www.douglaspublichealthnetwork.org.  Find additional information on state, federal and international COVID-19 response from the following websites: Oregon Health Authority, Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and by calling or logging onto 211Info.

View more news releases from Douglas Co. Government.