By Marcia Adams, M.D.
OYA Medical Director & Assistant Director
I’m sure you’ve heard about the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. We know you probably have concerns and questions. Some important things to know:
- As of March 2, there have been three presumed cases of coronavirus in Oregon. The situation is being monitored closely by public officials. Sign up here to get email updates on the coronavirus from the Oregon Health Authority.
- Get up-to-date information from the Oregon Health Authority. Because this is a rapidly-evolving situation, there is a great deal of misinformation about COVID-19 and its spread. Get up-to-date information on the Oregon Health Authority’s website and on OHA’s Facebook and Twitter.
- OYA has a plan for maintaining care for our youth in the event of widespread staff illnesses. We are reviewing the plan and will be working with OYA managers to make sure everyone knows what to do if a pandemic is declared — and educating youth on how to stay healthy. The governor’s office has also convened a coronavirus response team, made up of agency directors, to ensure a coordinated statewide response readiness plan is in place.
- We are working with OHA to gather answers to questions our staff and stakeholders may have. For those who have kids in school, the Oregon Department of Education has an information page with some FAQs.
- What you can do to reduce your risk.
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue that you then throw away.
- Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol. Here’s a great short video on how to do it right.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Regularly clean high-traffic surfaces.
- Take care of your overall health: Stay current on vaccinations (including your flu vaccine), eat well, and exercise to keep your body healthy.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- If you do get sick, please stay home to avoid infecting others.
- If you plan to travel outside the United States, consult travel advisories first.
- There are also basic steps every household should take to prepare for any unexpected event:
- Learn about the policies at your place of employment surrounding sick leave and working from home.
- Establish a childcare plan in the event your kids need to stay home from school.
- Make sure you have the kinds of foods, drinks, medications and pet supplies you would want if you needed to stay home and limit your contact with other people for a couple of weeks. The Oregon Health Authority and the Governor’s Office recommend that Oregonians be 2 Weeks Ready in case of the need to shelter in place for an extended period of time.
- Get to know your neighbors, especially those who might need extra help like seniors or people living alone.
- The situation is changing rapidly. We’ll try to get you up-to-date information as we can.
We are keeping track of developments and will communicate regarding any updates affecting our staff, families, and the youth we serve.