Tested Positive for COVID-19 in Lincoln County?

I kept hearing, it’s just a matter of time. We’ll eventually see positive tests. And, so we did. Are we in very begging of our curve? In the middle? At the end? Nothing is certain. Perhaps, I am more a skeptic than I thought myself. I’ll quote my wise friend. “Assume it’s everywhere and that YOU could be carrying the virus already.” Sounds like a good play. There’s a lot of hard right now. Things seem blurry. I am trying to stay focused, positive and grateful. Deep inhale. Long exhale.

Effective prevention: Wash hands often (at least 20 seconds with soap and running water), If soap and water are not available use hand sanitizer with a base of at least 60% alcohol, Clean surfaces often (door handles, computers, phones, counters, etc.), Stay at home, If you need to leave home for essentials such as food or medicine, maintain at least 6 feet from others at all times.

When Someone Tests Positive for COVID-19 in Lincoln County – this is the process. (Spanish Flyer – “What Happens Next”)

  1. Lincoln County Public Health interviews the patient who tested positive. This helps determine who they had contact with that might be at risk of getting COVID-19.
  2. When we identify someone who might be at risk, Public Health will call them and explain the circumstances. This happens within a few hours.
  3. We ask the person at risk to self-quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with the person that tested positive. During this time they monitor themselves for any potential symptoms while staying at home and avoiding contact with others.
  4. If they develop symptoms, they will work with providers to determine if they should be tested.
Interview with Nicole Fields. Deputy Director of Lincoln County Public Health. We discuss why we don’t provide the city location of a person who is tested positive, follow up process for positive testing, the importance of social distancing, and more.

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/LincolnPublicHealth

Website: www.co.lincoln.or.us/COVID

Call Center Phone: 541-265-0621 (Monday-Friday, 9am – 1pm)

Call Center Email: lincolncocallcenter@co.lincoln.or.us

Coronavirus and Team Lincoln County

Lincoln County’s information web page and document archive for COVID-19 lives here. Please review this information for best practices and knowledge regarding Coronavirus in Lincoln County. Note, ” The virus is not able to discriminate. Individuals of particular racial or ethnic groups are no more likely to get COVID-19 or spread it to others.” The best way to protect yourself is to avoid exposure to the virus. Read more…

Dr. Lesley Ogden, CEO of Samaritan’s Coastal Hospitals talks to Susan Trachsel, Health and Human Services, PIO about how Samaritan’s “ready” preparation is common protocol. Excellent information. Take moment and listen to your Doc. This is the second in a series of videos we have recorded and are currently producing.

When our team began tackling local Coronavirus response… I was kind of laying low. I wear a lot of hats as do many of my cohorts. I was absent from the first multidisciplinary discussions within our organization (last week). I began to observe from the periphery – that in a matter of days – my usual routine was going to be sidelined for the priority focus of the “Emergency Management PIO” aspect of my job description which when necessary is complete immersion in emergency communications. Most of my other duties get put on hold – the focus – ensuring the safety of our community.

Did you know…? Lincoln Alerts emergency notification system enables the agencies within Lincoln County to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, including severe weather, distant tsunamis, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods due to a hazardous material event or possible wildfire situations.

Community members, visitors and businesses can choose up to 3 ways
 to receive emergency notifications and community information from Public Safety, City, Tribal and County Officials for Lincoln County, Oregon. Community members should also be knowledgeable of our local radio, print, television and on-line media sources who will provide additional information from local public safety officials as it becomes available

There were no cases and continue to be no cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln County. However, my knowledge is not necessarily public knowledge. Sometimes, is too easily forgotten that internal institutional insight is not public information – until we communicate – outward to the community.

What’s developed within the emergency communications discipline is a deeper recognition of the need to moderate and monitor communication.  This is partially due to proliferation of social media. It’s a double-edged sword of sorts. On one hand we all have this amazing communications tool at our disposal: each of us has our own personal news amplification platform. On the other, as you may have experienced, it can be difficult to verify credible information on the internet. Relying on the 24-hour national news cycles, does not necessarily mean local accuracy. The cable news media are occasionally prone to lavish claims and sensationalism to keep eyeballs on their mediums.

So many conference calls… Not the most glamorous photo but the lifting is heavy and the conversations are serious. Samantha Buckley ( Assistant Emergency Manager), Nicole Fields (Deputy Director – Public Health), Jenny Demaris (Emergency Manager) and Susan Trachsel (HHS/PIO) talk to representatives from Local Fire, Siletz Tribe, School District, Cities, Law Enforcement, Hospitals, etc.

Locally, the players who began to assimilate our situation were Emergency Management, Public Health and our Legal team. I’ll also note that Commissioner Jacobson is the new liaison with Emergency Management – she was also present in the initial conversations that emerged to build situational awareness and strategies for planning both internally for our employees,  the safety of our citizens and the support role we provide to those we call “Cooperators”: they include – but are not limited to – first responders, local health care facilities, public safety AND regional organizations such as Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, CDC and others.

Lesley and Susan. I want to note the work Susan has been doing in regard to COVID. My fellow PIO has done so many good things, thus far. It really makes a difference for all of us to have this dedication and passion for community health. Simply put – all of these women – kick some serious ass! Go team!

When concern arises Team Lincoln County kicks into gear and we begin to have LOTS of conversations, conference calls, and preparations. I can tell you that COVID has not been taken lightly. I’m reminded of the skill and compassion of our local team to address both the need to communicate reliable and credible information to keep our community safe. We’ve evaluated and planned for practical actionable measures to prepare for the worst and best-case scenarios in Lincoln County.