The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all residents of our region, whether it is directly through illness, or indirectly due to all of the challenges and sacrifices associated with staying away from work, school, family and friends. We all are struggling with loss and the anxiety associated with an uncertain future. I suspect there is not one among us who does not wish for this crisis to be over.
Since mid-May, we have increased our interactions with one another. Not surprisingly, in the past two weeks there has been a resultant increase in the rate of new cases of COVID-19 among Wasco County residents. We have not seen an increase in the rate of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in our county although this increase is occurring statewide in Oregon.
In Wasco County some of the rate increase is due to exposures that have occurred at workplaces experiencing outbreaks; however we continue to see infections arise in individuals with no known exposure. At North Central Public Health District, we are diligently contacting all residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and obtaining information regarding close contacts from home, work and social settings.
We recognize the tremendous burden we are placing on residents to remain at home in isolation or quarantine, not to mention all of the other changes we are making in our daily lives.
At this time I look to the strength, grit and compassion of my fellow rural Oregonians, and our tradition of helping one another during difficult times. We can keep our elders and vulnerable members of our community safe by continuing to wear face coverings when in public, limiting social gatherings to those who live in our households, and remaining six feet or more apart from others.
Miriam D. McDonell, MD, FACOG
Health Officer, North Central Public Health District