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C.O. COVID-19 news: Govts. declare states of emergency, Jefferson-Crook delay trials

Health officer: 'This disease is going to get worse before it gets better.'

(Update: More from commissioners' meeting, county health director)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County commissioners officially declared a state of emergency in the county at a special meeting Friday to discuss various aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Commissioners said the emergency declaration is for 60 days, in an effort to provide emergency funds and policies that can better guide the public.

They said they want to make clear that this action is not at adding to any sense of panic, but will open the doors for more funds and support to get ahead of the virus, which has one presumptive case in the county at present.

Dr. George Conway, the county's health services director, recommended the declaration due to the need for supplies and in anticipation of more cases. He said the second, CDC confirmation for the county COVID-19 case should come back within a week and it will no longer be "presumptive."

Conway also said the county is monitoring others now, but they are not "cases," only "persons under monitoring" due to possible high-risk contact. He said they're not believed to have the virus.

The doctor said there's still no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted in the air, only by droplets from cougs or sneezes, or someone who touches one on a surface.

"Any time there is a defnable pattern that could help the public, we will share that information," Conway told commissioners.

He said an infectious disease nurse has been working with seniors' long-term care facilities in the county since January, putting plans in place and doing proactive training to keep them safe.

Conway said that if the U.S. fails at taking these proactive measures, it will lead to much larger economic catastrophes. Everything people can do to delay the spread also reduces the chances of overwhelming the available resources.

But he also said: "The disease is going to get worse before it gets better."

Here's their news release:

Deschutes County Commissioners issue emergency declaration
The Deschutes County Commissioners have issued an emergency declaration in response to COVID-19. The County joins two other Oregon counties that have issued similar declarations.

The emergency declaration authorizes the county to implement emergency actions, access more resources and take appropriate steps to recover some of the costs associated with the County’s response to the disease.

“This emergency declaration will help us to best serve our residents,” said Deschutes County Commission Chair Patti Adair. “We want to be as prepared as possible to help keep our community safe.”

The declaration of emergency comes two days after the Oregon Health Authority announced the first presumptive positive case in a Deschutes County resident.

The Commissioners met Friday to discuss ongoing and emerging COVID-19 related impacts.

During the meeting, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Emergency Manager Sgt. Nathan Garibay, Health Services Director Dr. George Conway and County legal counsel advised the commissioners that the emergency declaration will help county staff quickly respond and utilize all available resources to best protect the health of our community.

Local public health officials continue to urge residents to wash hands frequently, cover coughs or sneezes and stay home if you show signs of flu or a bad cold, including fever and cough.

To stay up to date on COVID-19, please visit www.deschutes.org/covid-19

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DECLARING A LOCAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE CITY OF BEND AS A RESULT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Bend City Manager Eric King has declared a local state of emergency as a result of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and has been confirmed in Deschutes County. Governor Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Oregon.

The Bend City Council is scheduled to vote to ratify the declaration, which is in effect through at least April 15, at its meeting Wednesday.

The declaration allows more flexibility and authorization for the City Manager to take actions to help protect the health and safety of the community, through a number of means from limiting access to public places, to buying items or services related to health and safety without normal procurement procedures that can take additional time.

“We need to move fast and be nimble in our responses right now, as this is a rapidly evolving situation,” said Mayor Sally Russell. “This declaration should not inspire concern, but rather, should assure the public that the City is taking every precaution possible to prevent the spread of this virus in our community.”

“My primary focus is to restrict the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain the health of our workforce so employees can continue to provide crucial City services,” said City Manager Eric King. “I have and will continue to develop emergency policies regarding the use of sick leave, vacation leave, telecommuting, meeting protocols, and more, which will be in effect for the duration of the emergency.”

While this emergency is in place, the City will not send shut-off notices or shut off water for non-payment of unpaid water bills and will not allow any permitted special events of more than 250 people.

To eliminate exposure and spread of COVID-19, and in support of state and federal guidelines for social distancing, the City has cancelled all advisory committee meetings and public, project-specific outreach meetings or open houses. City employees are encouraged to telecommute and to conduct meetings through online conferencing tools when possible. Disinfecting and cleaning operations have increased significantly in City facilities.

Currently, scheduled City Council meetings are expected to continue, but with social distancing modifications including increased space between chairs. This results is a smaller capacity in Council Chambers. The City strongly encourages livestreaming the meeting from home through www.bendoregon.gov/councilagenda. Anyone who wishes to communicate with the Council is also welcome to email council@bendoregon.gov.  

For information on COVID-19:

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Bend Police service response to COVID-19:

The City of Bend Police Department recognizes the need to follow State and Federal recommendations related to best practices associated with the spread of, and exposures to, COVID-19.  Based on these recommendations we have evaluated and adjusted our services and response to calls for service.  These decisions were made to follow social distancing guidelines. 

Effective immediately, the City of Bend Police Department will be evaluating calls for service to determine if they can be handled by phone, rather than in person.   We also encourage the public to utilize our online reporting portal for appropriate non-emergency crimes.  For general police questions we request the public consider calling into our office at (541)322-2960, rather than visiting our police department.  The police department will be suspending public finger printing services until further notice. 

Future adjustments may be necessary in order to maintain the staff necessary to serve the citizens of our City.  Our officers will continue to respond to emergency calls 24 hours a day and 7 days per week. 

Online reporting link:

https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/police/online-tools/online-police-report

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City of Redmond Responds to COVID-19

Council Considers State of Emergency Declaration

REDMOND, OREGON – On Tuesday, March 17, Redmond City Council will consider a local state of emergency declaration which allows the City to efficiently respond to the evolving public service needs created by the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Examples include: The need to seek additional resources should an outbreak occur in the Police Department which effects staffing; or to seek reimbursement for costs associated with managing the organization; and other unforeseen time sensitive matters that may arise during a rapidly changing situation.

“This authority gives us the ability to respond to unforeseen needs in a calm and thoughtful, yet timely manner,” states Keith Witcosky, Redmond City Manager.

Based on the state’s guidance to reduce the spread of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19, the City has cancelled all public meetings until April 13, 2020. City Council will meet on March 17 and postpone future meetings until April 14, 2020.  This timeframe is subject to change as the situation evolves. 

Redmond Utility Billing Department encourages residents to practice social distancing and pay their water bill by mail, by phone at 866-506-8162, or online using the following portal: https://cityofredmond.secure.munibilling.com/customers/sign_in.  If you don’t have an online account, you can use the account number reference on your monthly water statement to create one.  There is also a drive-up payment drop box is available 24 hours a day in the parking lot behind the City Hall building at 411 SW 9th Street.

City of Redmond public buildings remain open and continue to provide city services.

For information on COVID-19 community members can call 2-1-1 for general information and questions.  Online COVID-19 resources are the Oregon Health Authority: www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus for statewide updates and the Central Oregon Emergency Information Network (COEIN): http://coemergencyinfo.blogspot.com/ for local updates.

Jefferson County commissioners scheduled a Friday afternoon emergency meeting to declare a state of emergency and make some temporary sick leave modifications.

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News release from Crook County Emergency Management:

As novel coronavirus – aka COVID-19 – continues to spread, local health officials have stressed that the risk to Central Oregonians remains low.  Influenza continues to be a much more active threat to our community this time of year.  Crook County does not currently have any positive cases of COVID-19. 

Crook County Emergency Management, with the support of Crook County Court and the City of Prineville, today approved a County Emergency Health Declaration.  The local Health Department supports this declaration and recognizes that this will continue to support the county response to this incident.  This declaration will support the need for resources whether that is personnel or supplies.  It is consistent with the State Health Emergency Declaration and the National Health Emergency the President announced earlier today. 

Crook County and the City of Prineville wants you to know that in partnership with our local and neighboring Health Departments, Law Enforcement, school districts, the Central Oregon Emergency Information Network (COEIN), and medical community, which includes St. Charles Health System, the situation is being monitored very closely and following preparedness plans that are in place for any outbreak response.  Constant monitoring and tracking for the spread of the virus not only in Oregon but statewide and globally is ongoing. 

Crook County Judge, Seth Crawford stated “It is our goal to continue our preparedness efforts and to support our community at the highest possible level.  We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and urge you to stay calm.  We hear your concerns and are addressing them”.

The leadership of the county and city respect the privacy of the community members and when there is a positive case announced there will be no release of any identifiable information to protect the patient and family members.  With that being said the safety of staff and community members are the highest priority and efforts will continue around releasing updates to the public with the most current information and guidelines available.

The joint city and county preparedness plans outline the process of mitigation, response and recovery for any emergency or disaster. 

Local Public Health and the Oregon Health Authority continue to recommend people in Oregon take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of many respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza - The CDC is recommending non-pharmaceutical interventions to slow the spread of COVID-19, and other respiratory infections (including flu and pertussis) by taking everyday preventive actions, including:

  • If you feel sick, call ahead to your healthcare provider to discuss whether or not you need to be seen. 
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
  • Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
  • Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the US.
  • Stay home if you are sick and talk with your employer now about a plan if you do become ill and cannot show up for work.
  • It is advised that anyone with compromised immune systems, chronic medical conditions and the elderly not attend large events and practice social distancing to protect yourselves.

This week the state of Oregon announced a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people.  The city and county strongly believe in personal freedoms, including the right to assemble, but the statewide ban on large gatherings makes good sense, and needs to be followed.

There is much that is still unknown about the coronavirus, but what is known is that it is in our communities and we will see positive cases at some point.  It is recommended that individuals follow the guidelines being offered to help minimize the spread of the virus.  The same precautions are suggested for any communicable disease.

For more information or general questions contact:

Crook County Health Department

375 NW Beaver Street, Suite 100

Prineville, OR 97754

Office:  541-447-5165

You may also call 211 for general inquiries.  The call center is set up to take your calls. 

March 13, 2020; 1:20 p.m.

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Crook County Circuit Court & Jefferson County Circuit Court

The health and safety of all patrons and employees of the Crook & Jefferson County Circuit Courts are of utmost importance to the courts.  We are maintaining regular communications with our state and local public health and emergency management professionals to monitor the developing situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  In partnership with our state and local preparedness partners, we have developed a comprehensive response plan.  We are taking all necessary and available measures to maintain a safe and sanitary space for all employees and patrons of our court.

The courts recognize that requiring people to congregate in close proximity for any period of time is now risky.  Therefore, effective March 13, 2020, Crook and Jefferson County Circuit Courts have cancelled all jury trials through April 30, 2020, to be rescheduled as conditions allow.

All other court services remain available during normal business hours.

Amy Bonkosky

Trial Court Administrator

Crook & Jefferson County Circuit Courts

541.447.6541 & 541.475.3317

https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/crook

&

https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/jefferson

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Need DMV service? Visit DMV2U.oregon.gov

March 13, 2020

SALEM – To help slow the spread of Coronavirus in Oregon, the Oregon DMV asks that customers consider using the many services available online rather than visiting a DMV office in person.

You can do these things 24/7 at DMV2U.Oregon.gov:

  • Renew registration for most vehicles – even if your tags just expired, you can renew online and print the receipt to take in your car as proof of registration.
  • Update your address – if you move within Oregon, you must report your new address to DMV within 30 days.
  • Report the sale of your vehicle – if you sell your vehicle, you can take an extra step against future parking tickets and towing/storage fees on that car by reporting the sale to DMV online.
  • Get a trip permit if your tags are expired or license plates are lost or stolen, or if you’ve just bought a car without current plates.

“We encourage people to avoid renewing their vehicle registration in field offices when nearly everyone can do it via our DMV2U website,” DMV Administrator Tom McClellan said. “Those most vulnerable to the virus – those age 60 and older or who have underlying health conditions – should especially reconsider an in-person visit to DMV at this time.”

Other less frequently used services are also available at DMV2U.

If possible, DMV also asks that customers reschedule drive tests until a later date.

Any time you need a DMV service, please first check at DMV2U.Oregon.gov to see if you can save yourself a trip to an office. You can also visit OregonDMV.com to see office hours, locations and wait times for most DMVs, and to make sure you have everything you need before your visit.

DMV also accepts many transactions through the mail, and our phone agents (503-945-5000) help people prepare for a DMV visit, if required.

If you visit DMV in person

Most of our larger offices station employees near the front door to answer questions, check paperwork, and orient customers to the lobby/counter/testing areas.  We are not turning people away who appear sick, but are preparing signage that helps educate customers about COVID-19 symptoms and preventive steps such as good hygiene. 

“We are taking additional precautions with cleaning protocols and sanitation of employee/customer high-contact areas,” McClellan said. “If someone stays home from work due to illness, please don’t consider a trip to DMV as an acceptable activity. Stay home and get well, and don’t risk infecting others in public spaces like a DMV office!” said McClellan. 

Author Profile Photo

Jessie Foster

Jessie Foster is an anchor, producer and reporter for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jessie here.

Comments

24 Comments

  1. Wow even the putin diehards like adair and henderson can admit there is a problem, someone please let the local bots know too, watching them act confused by middle school level science is getting old

      1. The ruskys are very glad we are losing allies due to poor bat flu response, im glad henderson and adair can finally admit they were wrong, we need more kgb sleepers to do the same thing or the country will not be able to move out of its recent downward spiral #maga

      1. Instead of imposing travel restrictions, better attempts to mitigate existing cases could have been made. Also, not contradicting the information put out by the CDC. That’s two.

        An irrelevant point now, because it didn’t happen, and more large-scale mitigation is taking place. It will get worse before it gets better.

      2. Declaring a National State of Emergency on Wednesday instead of subjecting us to all that incoherent bumbling and a stock market crash would have been nice. Attempting a bipartisan stance on this virus for more than 24 hours might have been nice, too.

  2. “The doctor said there’s still no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted in the air, only by droplets from cougs or sneezes, or someone who touches one on a surface.”
    ___
    Gee- just like a regular cold or flu virus- issues we have every year- problems that have killed thousands of more local and national citizens than the Wuhan.
    ___
    So what is this really all about- I mean besides political payback for an election lost in 2016- what this now appears to be- is a money run !.
    ___
    The science is clear- without prolonged- unprotected-fluid exchange- You will not be exposed- you will not become sick- and even if you do get sick- the recent reports out of China state that the symptoms are “mild” for 80% of those infected- who recover quickly.
    ___
    Again- where are the massive death tolls- who’s preparing the graves and incinerators- any local funeral homes rolling in the dough ??? Hell no !
    ____
    You all been conned- lied to- driven to hysterics by media irresponsibility from the likes of CNN and KTVZ- who claim to be just reporting the facts- “Not true” ! They are purposefully ignoring key elements to this story- just to push a political agenda. For weeks you were told that this is 10x’s more deadly than anything on the planet- only rivaling Ebola- Hogwash !
    ___
    For those of you who missed Orsen Welles radio theater performance of “War of the worlds”- the 1938 radio drama that described a martian invasion of the planet Earth- the program sent hundreds of thousands of Americans into a state of fear- some panicked- some became hysterical…
    Sound Familiar ???
    _____
    History will not be kind to KTVZ.

        1. didn’t even glance at it. I saw it was half a page and busted out laughing at the thought of crotchety old man hunched over his computer typing with two fingers for 20 minutes, so pitiful

    1. Wow your mental image of all these infected senior citizens and military veterans having intimate fluid contact with each other, is as charming as it is ludicrous
      .
      Well played comrade owen

    2. You’re right, the Flu has killed more people throughout history than Covid-19. The mortality rate is around .2%, whereas Covid-19 is 2-3%. A significant difference, considering the demographic most likely to die. The reason this is such a big problem is because the symptoms are so minimal and people will carry it without even knowing, infecting unknown numbers until they are able to be tested, if there are tests readily available.

      You don’t have to buy into the hysteria that some make of this, but do not take it lightly either. We are only seeing the beginning in our country and we have to take extreme measures to mitigate the spread or we end up like China or Italy.

        1. Yes and there are dozens of our most respected citizens, veterans and elderly, now suffering because of it, right in our backyard… i could care less if bat flu was caused by space aliens, its time to focus on its treatment obviously

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