Coronavirus Update 3/24/2020 10 am
3/24/2020 10:00 am
Lisa Reynolds MD
This is Lisa Reynolds, MD. Portland Pediatrician, mom and daughter. Candidate for Oregon HD36.
Coronavirus: The numbers
WORLDWIDE: 382,000 confirmed cases, 17,000 deaths, 166 countries
US: 43,500 confirmed cases, 537 deaths
OREGON: 192 confirmed cases, 5 deaths. (WA 2200 cases/110 deaths)
US Stay at Home orders are in place in 16 states, 9 counties and 3 cities, covering about half of all Americans. (And now includes Oregon, see below)
Oregon’s Governor Brown issues Executive Order 20-12: Stay Home, Save Lives. (3/23/2020) This does the following:
Oregonians need to stay home except for the following tasks:
Grocery shopping and getting take out food
And, all must maintain social distancing of 6 feet from others in these activities.
Must close within 24 hours: Non essential “retail” businesses/non profits in which personal contact is hard to avoid:
Gyms, nail shops, malls, museums, ski resorts…
Essential businesses: grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, those necessary for infrastructure. (Bars & restaurants remain open for take out food.)
Can remain open: Childcare centers can continue operation, prioritizing children of those who are first responders and health care staff. Each room in a center must have less than 10 people per room. This group of 10 or fewer must be “stable” (the same group every day).
Prohibited: gatherings, parties, or in-person socializing.
Work Remotely: All other businesses are strongly encouraged to arrange for remote work. If work must be done in person, maintain social distancing of 6 feet
Closed: All campgrounds, all state parks, all playgrounds/outdoor sport courts and sports fields/skate parks/pools. Other parts of public parks are open for recreation. Parks must post signs mandating social distancing.
Closed: Trails in the waterfall corridor of the Columbia Gorge (Oregon side): from Bridal Veil Falls to Ainsworth State Park (including historic highway).
Non-essential travel is banned. Essential travel: To essential workplaces, to get food or health care, to visit close family of those in need, and to home.
Violations are a Class C misdemeanor (subject to $1250 fine or up to 30 days in jail)
The order was effective immediately and remains in place until terminated by the Governor.
Yes, this means massive disruption in our work and our education and our personal lives. The lives of Oregonians and the safety of our health system depend on making the right choices right now. REMEMBER THE CURVE. We need to #Flattenthecurve
Governor Brown also extended a moratorium on evictions for those renters who cannot make rent due to COVID19 to include the entire state.
Testing is still in low numbers in Oregon. We know the actual numbers of people with COVID19 is much higher than the confirmed cases. Providence is the only hospital system conducting in-house tests. Its capacity is 600 tests/day. Other hospital systems are expected to follow.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) supplies remain inadequate but are improving given donations from other industries, ramping up production of equipment and repurposing factories to manufacture PPE. Legacy Health Systems is holding off for now on having folks make medical masks at home.
ICU equipment and hospital beds are also felt to be insufficient to accommodate the anticipated number of sick people. (Extreme social distancing is designed to lower this anticipated number.)
The Oregon Legislature’s Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response met Mon 3/23 for a third meeting and discussed how to best financially support businesses and out of work Oregonians (especially those who do not qualify for unemployment) during this time. A special session of the legislature is expected to be called.
The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed until summer 2021.
What to do - the list is pretty short now
Stay Home, Stay Healthy
We really should call it PHYSICAL distancing, not social distancing: Look for ways to engage - I’ve been video conferencing with friends.
Continue to wash hands/hand sanitizer. Try not to touch your face. If you’re in an essential job, strip down and shower when you get home, and wash your clothes. And, thank you.
Donate Blood - blood drives have been cancelled but we still need blood donors.
CALL your US Members of Congress about the US Bailout package and the Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act. Scripts and phone numbers here.
Many Oregon internet companies are offering free service; energy and telecommunications utilities are suspending service disconnections, and waiving late fees to support Oregonians impacted by coronavirus. In addition, state and federal programs can provide assistance to qualified individuals and households. Read more here.
Portland public schools is providing meals for families. Details here.
Medical students and nursing students, whose classes are cancelled, are offering childcare and other services for health care workers. Twitter users can send a direct message to Medical student Emily Lane at @EmilyCALane. There’s also a program hotline: 503-383-9776.
The state and the federal governments are pouring more resources to help businesses and employees affected by furloughs, layoffs, decreased hours and lost revenue. More information: unemployment benefits, small businesses.
What I’m worried about
Of course, disease and illness overwhelming our health system.
Doctors will have to decide who gets life saving treatment (ventilators) and who doesn’t because equipment is in short supply.
Doctors getting sick because of inadequate PPE.
The health and safety of my friends and family
That Oregon public schools are not equipped (nor do they seem to be making plans to become equipped) to provide substantive online learning. See this article. This will lead to a larger learning and performance gap for our vulnerable kids. This could have lifelong consequences for those kids whose families cannot fill the void. The inequities in our education system was a driving force for me to run for office. Washington state is calling on its schools to continue instruction. We can do hard things and must. Our kids’ futures depend on finding a solution and not writing off weeks or months of instruction. Remember, the brain is a muscle (this is metaphor) and must be used!!!