Health & Wellness

Coronavirus: Area health officials focus on prevention

CRESWELL – Local health leaders say it’s all about prevention when it comes to coronavirus.
Three people in Oregon recently tested positive for coronavirus, a strain that has only been spreading since December 2019. It has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people. Not much is yet known about the virus, according to Oregon Health Authority, and there is not yet a treatment.
‘This virus has made it to our state. We expect given what we know about this virus … that we are going to have more cases,” Dr. Patrick Luedtke of Lane County Public Health said in a press conference in Eugene on Monday.
Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing; close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; and touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing and may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions.
March is flu season, so in addition to those types of illnesses circulating, increased concern for the coronavirus is making for busy health hubs in town.
A virus such as this collects a lot of hype, but it all comes down to prevention, said Creswell Wellness Center owner Chelsea Pisani, whose mantra this week is ”keep calm and boost your immune system.”
The Wellness Center is especially busy this week, Pisani said, noting that ”the vast majority of our customers have friends and family who are immune-compromised. They come in to buy Vitamin B and C, elderberry and Wellness Formula for that extra immune boost.”
Visits to Camas Swale Medical Clinic have also increased.
Dr. Damon Armitage said that now is their busy time of the year. Patient visits have doubled in the past week as a result of flu-like symptoms surfacing in patients, not specifically related to coronavirus, he said.
Creswell School District Superintendent Mike Johnson said the District is taking additional steps to reduce the spread of germs by increasing the number of staff on duty for cleaning and sanitizing the school facilities.
”Our priority is on deep cleaning and sanitizing,” Johnson said.
The District is also instructing the staff on how to use special cleaning and disinfecting agents for door handles, desks, counters and tables and every classroom received a spray bottle with ‘Oxivir Five 16’ on Tuesday morning, Johnson said. All schools will be scheduled on a weekend for a deep cleaning.
Camas Swale office manager Sarah Cox said the office practices ”germaphobe standards” by never reusing pens, sanitizing door handles and wiping down the lobby and rooms after patient visits.
If someone were to come into the medical clinic to be treated for coronavirus, Armitage said they would take a ”supportive care” approach by possibly prescribing anti-inflammatories, decongestants and, in some cases, a mild steroid. A patient would be tested with three different criteria for coronavirus, and if the patient does not meet the criteria, they likely have the flu or another common cold virus.
The best thing you can do is educate yourself and practice good health by washing your hands and keeping your immune system up, Armitage said.
”Everyone can do their part to help be prepared for this emerging public health concern,” Johnson said. ”It’s currently the flu and respiratory disease season. Many of the everyday precautions we take to prevent flu and the common cold are useful in protecting against the spread of coronavirus.”
Pisani agrees. ”Practicing prevention is the safest and most proactive approach to preventing sickness” she said. ”Do what you can to stay healthy; eliminate sugars, stay hydrated, sleep, wash your hands, and for the love of Pete, stay home if you’re sick. Let’s get rid of the hype and go down to the basics.”
As of press time Tuesday, three people in Oregon tested positive for coronavirus, 17 tested negative and eight test results are pending. There are 101 under monitorization and 226 who have completed the monitoring without developing symptoms or were determined to have no risk.



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