The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners met today (6/15) and received an update regarding the Coronavirus. The county currently has 206 cases. As testing increases so will the number of positive cases. Dr. Sedlinger with the Oregon Health Authority pointed out that many who have tested positive have reported they don't have symptoms. Unlike before now the state health authority is saying that you can spread the disease even without showing symptoms.
For this reason the county commissioners discussed requiring face coverings when people are in public. Dr. Sedlinger said "there is an increased risk of spreading the disease in large gatherings and social distancing, face coverings and washing hands and sanitizing are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the illness." He added that science surrounding the virus continues to progress and they are learning more every day. Transmission is lower outside than in closed places.
County Council Wayne Belmont said enforcement of an ordinance requiring face coverings is a challenge as well as the county only having jurisdiction in the unincorporated areas he suggested that what was done in Washington State was a public health officer giving a directive to encourage the use of face coverings in public places. Commissioner Hall stated that "there are strong pro's and con's but one of the best tools we have to control the virus is with face coverings". Commissioners approved for County Health Director Rebecca Austin to issue a directive for the public to wear face coverings in public, effective tomorrow (6/16).
Public health director Austin also reported they have received a lot of resources from the state including additional test kits and resources to be able to communicate with the Spanish speaking community. The state is also getting some additional help for the public information officers(PIO). Commissioners thanked Susan and Casey for their hard work and acknowledged that this has become overwhelming for them. The county commissioners will be holding another joint meeting with the cities to further discuss the requirement of face coverings on Friday. The commissioners also extended the state of emergency to July 8th.