Health & Wellness

Council moves $100k to prepare

SPRINGFIELD – During the City Council meeting on March 16, Springfield declared a State of Emergency.
This motion kicked into place the City’s emergency plan until May 12, and could help the City receive reimbursement. After approving the motion, the council also voted to transfer $100,000 from the general fund contingency into Development and Public Works Operating Expenses for their emergency response.
“I want to reassure everyone that we’re working hard to make sure our response is well thought out,” Mayor Christine Lundberg said in a statement during the meeting. “We are working closely with the Chamber of Commerce, Lane County and Eugene to be prepared today and for the future.”
She added that the City will continue to update the public with accurate information that is easy to access and understand. They are doing their part to implement social distancing but need the help of the public to call or email when they have questions instead of coming to the facility.
“I know the community will step up and help each other, and we will get through this emergency,” she said.
The role of the City in moments of public health emergencies is to support and amplify messages and recommendations provided by the lead agencies Lane County Public Health (LCPH) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA).
Ken Vogeney with the Department of Public Works said that the City has been preparing for this since January and is working to protect the public with regional, state and national partners. The City is opening an Emergency Operation Center (EOC), which Vogeney will be the manager of. The center will collaborate with teams from Lane County and Eugene, but in keeping with social distancing is limiting itself to under 13 people.
Councilor Sean VanGordon asked for advice on what to tell constituents who ask what is the most important thing they could be doing and Vogeney said to tell them to “be calm and take care of themselves and their family.”
Fire Chief Chris Heppel explained where the current numbers were and said that the County hasn’t had its first positive case yet. Although testing is becoming more really available and the CDC is allowing for private labs to test, there is still a capacity issue.
“There’s criteria that has to be met before we’re even being tested,” he said, adding that the private labs are mandated to share positive case results with the State.
Heppel and Police Chief Rick Lewis both have personal protective systems in place to keep their force healthy, including asking additional questions, using masks and understanding social distancing.
Lundberg said she’s putting her confidence in the teams and the “community is definitely counting on us to have a good response.”



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