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Health & Medicine

Oregon Team To Focus On Long-term Care Facilities

<p>There is currently no vaccine to prevent contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.</p>
<p>There is currently no vaccine to prevent contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.</p>

UPDATE (6:40 p.m. PT) — Oregon state and local health officials reported 76 new known coronavirus cases Saturday. There are now 1,447 confirmed cases in Oregon.

Oregon officials also reported three new coronavirus-related deaths Saturday.

There have been 51 known coronavirus-related deaths in the state.

Washington surpasses 10,000 cases

Clark County Public Health said Friday that there are 14 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the county. There are now 220 known cases of the virus there. To date, 14 people in Clark County have died.#160; 

The latest available data from the Washington Department of Health indicated the state had reported 10,224 diagnosed cases of the coronavirus and 491 related deaths.

Oregon team to address coronavirus in long-term care facilities

The Oregon Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority announced Saturday the creation of a support team that will assess the needs of long-term care facilities with increased coronavirus cases.

The two agencies said they have entered a data sharing arrangement, allowing them to better monitor coronavirus cases within care facilities statewide and to share updates with the public.

The agencies released an initial report Saturday detailing cases in the state with five or more coronavirus cases.

The facility with the most cases is Healthcare at Foster Creek in Portland with 35 cases and nine related deaths.

As of Friday, the agencies said, there are 32 long-term care facilities that have reported to the Department of Human Services that either a resident or staff member has coronavirus. 

“By forming a multidisciplinary team, we are able to more quickly provide a long term care facility with interventions and support to assist them in controlling COVID-19 infections,” Mike McCormick, interim director of the DHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities, said in a statement. 

The support team will assess the needs of care facilities experiencing a coronavirus outbreak and will offer the facilities resources which could include helping staff agencies to meet temporary care and operational needs as well as identifying resources for personal protective equipment, or PPE.

Projections show social distancing is working for Oregon

New projections released Saturday by the Oregon Health Authority estimate that current aggressive social distancing efforts are helping to eventually flatten the curve of active coronavirus cases in Oregon.

The projections, made by Washington’s Institute for Disease Modeling, estimate there are currently about 7,000 coronavirus cases in Oregon rather than the just more than 1,400 cases that have been diagnosed.

But the report states that without any social distancing measures in place, that number would be closer to 25,000.

Oregon receives more PPE

Oregon received a shipment of 78 pallets of personal protective equipment Friday from the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

The supplies still must be inventoried before the state reports exact totals, but according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, the state has received an estimated 150,000 N95 masks, 2,500 scrub pants, 2,000 scrub tops, 250 coveralls and about 67,000 face shields. 

Those supplies were sent to the PPE distribution center in Wilsonville which will then ship the equipment to Oregon counties based on need, the Office of Emergency Management said.

“In these unprecedented times, this large shipment of PPE will make a huge difference in Oregon’s ability to fight this outbreak. However, it’s clear that even this shipment will not be sufficient to meet the expected needs of our health care workers,” Andrew Phelps, emergency management director, said in a statement. “While we continue to work with our state, federal and private partners to procure as much PPE as we can, I urge Oregonians to continue practicing social distancing.”

The Office of Emergency Management said this shipment of PPE was procured from USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance warehouse in Dubai. The U.S. has not used materials from that particular stockpile for a domestic emergency since Hurricane Katrina, OEM said.

No citations issued by OSHA

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division, known as OSHA, has not issued a single citation even though it has received 2,747 coronavirus-related complaints since March 2.

The Portland Tribune reports the complaints have been filed by employees from businesses such as senior living homes, hospitals, restaurants and gyms.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown put the agency in charge of enforcing her March 23 stay-at-home order in regards to businesses and workplaces.

The agency has assigned 75 compliance officers to do inspections but has not issued any citations for unsafe conditions. 

OSHA said the process for issuing citations comes with a significant delay. “It would be extraordinary if we had cited anybody this quickly," the agency’s administrator told the Portland Tribune.

Oregon officials remind people to stay home

Even as the weather improves, Oregon public health officials are urging people to continue staying home amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Though state parks, all private and public recreational campgrounds and many federal trailheads are closed, many local parks are still open. But, officials are warning people to continue practicing social distancing if they do choose to go to public spaces. 

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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