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Sunday, October 1, 2023

'This is a critical time in our community's fight against COVID-19,' officials say

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'This is a critical time in our community's fight against COVID-19,' officials say
'This is a critical time in our community's fight against COVID-19,' officials say
Here is the latest from local officials on what you need to know.

Local, late breaking, this is kezi9news breaking news.

>> i'm brian anderson.

We just got confirmation of a ninth case in lane county.

Officials are holding a press conference right now.

>> the chair heather back.

With that i'll introduce mayor lundberg from springfield.

>> good morning.

Each and every day we can take steps that benefit our community.

We must for the sake of everyone's health comply with the stay add home order.

However, we can still find ways to not feel isolated and to stay active.

Getting outdoors, finding ways to exercise are great options when it comes to staying healthy while helping stop the spread of the coronavirus.

We can still take walks, hike, bike and run.

Parks, trails and open spaces remain open.

Here are a few tips for social distancing outside.

Practice proper personal hygiene prior to heading to the trails.

Wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not use trails if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, et cetera.

Observe social distancing of six feet from other people and warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance.

Leave no trash.

Take everything out to protect park workers.

We can also still make time for others.

Call and check on your neighbors.

Pick up food to go from your favorite restaurants and access a host of great resources from online library services.

I have seen so many people and businesses adapting and working to support one another.

We can be there for one another through this time.

We just have to do it a bit differently.

Thank you for making the health of our community a priority.

>> good morning, and thank you, jason, for sanitizing the electric person and i'm mary lucy vinis from eugene.

We're in day 5 of governor indicate brown's stay home save lives directive.

We're heartened to see the majority of eugeneans doing their best to follow this directive while navigating this period of incredible uncertainty.

The city's efforts have continued to support the health and safety of every community member.

We are focused on strategies to flatten the curve by reducing the need for people to travel around the community in search of necessities and shelter.

We are partnering with multiple agencies including lane county and our local service providers to directly support our community members experiencing homelessness.

Outreach teams of city staff from multiple departments are providing supplies directly to people experiencing homelessness through direct canvassing efforts that meet people where they are.

These outreach teams also provide information about covid-19 and where to access help.

There is more work to come in this effort, and we know our strategies will adapt as we continue to learn more and respond to this dynamic situation.

The eugene police department continues to work around the clock to protect community members.

Epd to gain compliance with the directive by educating people -- i'm sorry.

Epd aims to gain compliance with the stay home save lives directives by educating people not following the governor's orders.

However, if someone believes their employer or a business they visited is not following the governor's order, they can call the county's covid phone line or report the incident directly to oregon's occupational, safety and health administration known as osha through their website.

We continue to ask community members to be informed and follow cdc guidelines on how best to protect themselves, their families, and their community.

This is a critical time in our community's fight against covid-19.

Based on what we have seen in other cities and across the world, social distancing can make all the difference.

It will give our health care system the precious and critical time it needs to meet the coming demand.

So thank you, eugene, thank you for taking this seriously and thank you for staying home and saving lives.

>> thank you to mayor vinis and mayor lun berg for your leadership at this time.

Our partnerships with our cities both big and small are more important now than ever.

I would like to begin by thanking all the people who are making the very tough choice of staying home and limit their trips to the grocery stores and other essential businesses.

I would like to thank the business owners who are putting the health of our community first and doing the very hard thing of either closing or making major changes to their operations.

My thanks on behalf of lane county is also extended to the medical providers who are on the front lines providing care for our ill in our community both for covid-19 and other illnesses.

The first responders are continuing to provide emergency services to community members in need and keep us all safe.

Our partner agencies both governmental and nonprofit and faith based who are working hard to find ways to continue to support our vulnerable community members.

The volunteers who are continuing to find ways to support our community including bringing supplies to our older neighbors and our loved ones.

The grocery store employees, gas station attendees, truckers and pharmacists who are working around the clock to restock shelves and to help ensure we still have the supplies we need.

The folks who are ensuring our utilities, electrical, water, water waste and our other public transportation continue to function well.

Our school employees who are feeding our children and creating online educational services and resources during this unprecedented cancellation of schools.

Our local media who are working diligently to share information with our community.

Our public health staff and emergency operations personnel who are focused on limiting the spread of covid-19 amongst us all including the unhoused.

The people and companies who have been able to donate personal protective gear and equipment so that we can distribute those to medical and first responders, agencies in need including south lane fire and rescue, florence areas and more.

Please keep donations coming.

We will need them as this continues.

I know this list is not exhaustive and if we fail to mention someone, please know that you too have our gratitude.

We're also appreciative of those out of concern for us all are continuing to contact local authorities to share their concerns about the ability of local businesses to practice social distancing if they are still operating.

As in eugene and springfield our focus will be on education and helping businesses understand the importance of social distancing.

The requirements of the governor's executive order are ones that we want to ensure that we give the proper educational information to.

The state has created a method for residents to make reports as well.

That information is available on our website.

In closing i urge all of you to join me and my family in continuing to stay home and save lives.

There is no cure for the coronavirus.

There is no magic pill.

But we do know one thing that works.

That's staying home.

When you do that you save countless lives in our community and beyond.

Stay home, stay safe, and save lives.

Thank you.

>> let me start off by thanking our elected officials.

I have been a part of multiple emergency events and it is beyond important and encouraging that we have elected officials so committed towards one cause and having that unified voice that really is paying attention to the situation and acting accordingly.

So it's much appreciated.

I would like to give you a testing update and a case count.

What we know about testing, we have at least 415 tests that have gone from lane county to our various labs.

Again, it's important to point out that that number is likely quite a bit higher, probably in sex of 500 but hard to tell at this point.

We have explained this before but really just going back to there's no requirement for reporting out those negative tests so we're getting those in various forms and trying to make that information as known as possible as quickly as possible.

Right now we have nine positive cases in lane county, so if you remember yesterday we had seven so there's two new ones.

Let's explore those.

The first is a male, this individual is in his late 60s, initial onset of symptoms was march 18 including a fever, a cough and extreme fatigue.

That extreme fatigue piece seems to be a commonality on initial symptoms if that's helpful for people to know.

Then it graduated into chills and a headache as well as vomiting.

That vomiting looked like it happened for about a week.

Then shortness of breath ensued on march 25th which led to this individual being toasted on the 26th.

He is currently hospitalized but in stable condition.

So that's good news.

And this individual is from the eugene springfield area.

Our second case that we're going to announce is a woman in her mid 50s.

The initial symptom onset is still being determined and part of the reason that we're still determining that is she has a couple different preexisting medical conditions that mimic some of the conditions of covid-19, and therefore it's being evaluated which ones are covid-19 and which were due to her preexisting conditions.

She had potential contact with a known case, which is what led to her initial testing on march 17th.

We received results yesterday and she does reside in the eugene-springfield area.

It's important to note both these individuals live in private residences and our second person, the woman in her mid 50s, is at home and in good condition as of this time.

Another thing i would like to point out about what we're seeing in terms of commonalities between the cases is that there seems to be consistent loss of taste and sense of smell before the other symptoms really ramp up.

We are trying to share this information to help you understand what we're seeing at a local level.

There's variability across the nation.

A lot of information reported out at the national level is more statistical in nature and we want to give our community actionable symptoms to look out for, with the knowledge there seems to be great variabilities in symptoms among cases.

There's allergy and flu that needs to be considered before you call your provider or before you get tested.

Now i would like to move on to addressing a couple of questions that are coming into the emergency operations center that we're hearing as the public information officers.

One is a question about the number of ventilators and hospital beds that are available in our community.

We are working on getting an answer on that.

We have an idea, of course, with our tracking but we have to work with our various agencies -- ventilators are not just in a hospital setting, they are in a first responder setting, in various settings across the community anywhere surgery is done typically has a ventilator.

We're trying to get an accurate, comprehensive picture and be able to share that with you so our public can remain informed and really understand what we're working with and the importance of not flooding our medical system.

Another thing we have heard, this is one that i think deserves some attention and concerted response, shouldn't we just go out and get covid-19 to build immunity and get this over with?

So that is definitely problematic from a public health perspective and we want to make sure we add decrees that because that's something we're hearing over and over.

The answer is absolutely not.

That is not an effective strategy.

While some may recover effectively there's a huge variability on how individuals react to the virus and what we would be doing at that point is really effectively transmitting the disease and escalating the situation overrunning our hospital system and really getting to a point of no return.

That is something that we want to strongly message out there that that's not an effective strategy nor should it be considered, that what our elected officials have already reiterated and we say every day the most effective strategy is staying home, practicing social distancing.

What is the vaccination status of known cases?

That's a data point we're looking at making available.

However as we are ramping up our data collection it does take time and we're compiling the data to get a full picture so expect that to be reported out at some point.

The projected duration of the outbreak and projected number of current cases.

Can you talk about that?

So with the projected duration of the outbreak that is a very tricky question because typically you would base that projection on quantifiable data that we simply do not have at this point.

Some of the projections shared through our medical provider call and some other settings are not really based at a level where we would feel confident in making any certifiable decisions on so what we're looking at right now is juxtaposing local data, state data, with national data and coming up with ballpark fusion.

We're still a ways out on that.

Our health officer has said by the end of the month we should have a better idea so we're working very hard to make some of those numbers available for folks, give you a better idea of what we're projecting.

Even when we do it's really important for folks to know those numbers will be based on a very limited data set.

Crowding at grocery stores.

We heard a lot of reports from people saying i went to the grocery store, very crowded, the lines are packed together.

Social distancing is not happening.

So we're aware of those situations and we are actively setting up strategies to communicate with our business community point out some of those areas, in light of enforcement happening, the other strategy is the education piece, helping them understand how to do that in their setting and following up to make sure that's happening.

That work is being done, however i would like to point out a few examples, at least one, where that is happening.

Jerry's in springfield and eugene, we have heard has very effective strategies.

They are looking at actually measuring the distance between people in the lines and making sure that stays that six foot level.

Also making sure that the interaction between the cashier and the person purchasing whatever they are buying has safe distance and that unnecessary contact is not being made.

So while we are hearing those examples of that not happening we are hearing examples of it actually effectively being done at the business level.

So that's encouraging.

What we're going to be working on is trying to make sure that's consistent across our community.

Another point just to mention, starting next week we will be moving to some more robust spanish entrancelation to make our press briefings and other materials more accessible to everyone in our community so be looking for that.

Last, i will go ahead and outline some of our priorities going forward from a public health response.

So one of our first priorities is increased testing.

We have mentioned this at past press briefings that that has been a focal point and there's promising news coming from our community.

There are kinks to work out.

That is actively being done and hopefully we'll have good news to announce in the near future.

Community safety.

Certainly looking at issues with the grocery stores but then also working with law enforcement partners and other first responders to make sure that we are pursuing safety in the greatest capacity.

Systems development.

So making sure that our medical community understands again what to do when they see a case, when they get a call about a potential case.

Some of the other components to making sure that our systems are adapted to this new reality of living with covid-19.

Protecting the least prepared and the most vulnerable amongst us, certainly i don't think it needs too much explanation as to why that's important.

But it really boils down to saving lives and we're certainly doing that and pursuing that with the unhoused community but also with other populations such as our elder community and that needs to go forward throughout the duration of this situation.

Planning for stability.

So that's going back to the business piece and really trying to look at helping our businesses, fortifying them.

That's happening at the municipal level, both cities have done a great job reaching out and providing future planning on how to make that more accessible and greater capacity.

Also looking at really promoting some of those efforts, local business to adapt to the situation.

Just recently i saw a facebook group that is specifically designed around how you can help support businesses, how you can make orders.

That works even being done at a community level which we're very thankful for.

Then our increased outreach to businesses, that is more in a formalized capacity where we can have points of contact and help make recommendations known and then follow up on them.

There's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of questions out there in regards to how can we effectively do, remain open and really help our business community, take some of those things into consideration will be one of our priorities going forward.

At this time i'll take questions from the media and i'll take the public health ones and if we have questions for elected officials i'll step down and let them take them.

[audio not understandable] so the question is what is your communicable disease investigation look like, how many investigators are there, what does the process look like, what does it entail and are they being overwhelmed.

The first part of that we have around five to six investigators which is adequate for the time being.

We have a plan in place that if we need more we have some experienced folks within the community who can step in who have already made their volunteer status known.

So we're thankful for that.

Right now we're able to handle that with that number.

What the process really looks like is that our provider communities, medical doctors primarily, have the authority to order tests.

When they do that the lab has a responsibility to notify public health when we have a positive.

The provider is also notified.

Once that contact has been made we get the contact information, they make contact via phone and we start gathering basic information.

Things like when did you start feeling ill, what did that entail.

We get that picture of what i share with you every day, that symptom onset.

They look at the contact made while those symptoms happen.

Asymptomatic transmission happens still the bulk of information points to most transmission happens with symptomatic people.

What we're primarily looking at is what kind of contact did you have in the public and individually while you were symptomatic then really determining whether we need additional contact with those people.

There's guidelines so not everyone will meet that threshold of additional contact or do we need a public message about a public contact point some of the just hypothetical situation, if there was a small gathering which shouldn't be happening anyway where a public contact was made we would try to reach out to each of the individuals in that small gathering.

If we couldn't reach out to them we would do a public message.

The public message is really contingent on whether or not we can make contact with each individual.

Hopefully that provides a little insight.

[audio not understandable] >> the question is from alex at kval, is public health disowrnling individuals from using i bow pro fenn or other products with ibuprofen in it.

The answer to that is the data is really still out on that.

However there has been a recommendation from the world health organization.

So we're taking it on a case-by-case basis.

We're providing folks with the information that acetaminophen is an effective fever reducer and can be used in place of ibuprofen.

It's important for people to know that certain individuals in our community cannot risk going into a seizure or seizing, so sometimes certain medications can be used to prevent that.

Ibuprofen can be one of those.

So that's really some of our considerations.

But we're not recommending that individuals use ibuprofen as an effective pain reliever or fever reducer in the meantime.

[audio not understandable] the question is have we seen any cases of covid-19 in the unhoused community.

So to our knowledge we do not have any cases in lane county.

Within that community however we have really tried to make it clear that our understanding of what is happening in the community is really relegated to those most severe cases.

So those individuals who are hospitalized, those individuals who have had contact with a known case or if there's an epidemiological link meaning they have had that real close contact and we think they were exposed to a point at which they need to be tested.

So yes, we do know some information but we don't have a full picture.

[audio not understandable] the question is from rachel at klcc, how are other cities throughout lane county doing with social distanceing and are there plans for shelters to be set up in other areas.

The plan are ongoing in those communities and really what we're looking at is what is the need then also really following up on the cdc guideline that if we are able to make those individuals or allow those individuals to stay in place where they are at and provide services to them that's really the preferred first strategy.

Certainly you're aware that when you put an individual into a congregant setting we have to make sure it follows guidelines to make sure there's not disease transmission.

That's been a heavy lift, so the process really includes looking at all those factors.

What we're doubling down on is enabling individuals to have the services they need to stay in place.

In terms of social distancing we have heard good reports.

We have also heard some bad reports and we're following up on those.

Trying to encourage our other cities throughout lane county to follow the same protocol.

If you see a complaint within your municipality, within your city, you can use those resources to make complaints at the state level.

The osha form and other complaint mechanisms there.

What we have heard just so far is predominantly positive than social distancing is really being considered, especially at the coast with their unique situation last week with the tremendous weather, all the sunshine large crowds went to the coast.

They have informed us they have seen an improvement.

That could be from the weather itself or just the fact that our folks are paying attention to the social distancing measures.

And that's all i have for the public health questions.

>> if you are just joining us lane county public health wrapped

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