The Tillamook County Public Health Department announced Thursday, March 26, that it has been informed of the first presumptive case of COVID-19 coronavirus in the county. The individual is a health care provider between 35 and 54 years of age. As of today, the provider is convalescing at home under quarantine. She is employed by the county and works at the Tillamook County Community Health Center. According to Health Center Medical Director, Lisa Steffey, D.O., “Like all health care staff, this provider and other health center staff, have been using recommended precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE) to limit exposure and transmission. Consequently, we expect to have limited the transmission to other staff or patients.”
The Health Center clinic in Tillamook was closed immediately and staff sent home. “Staff have been instructed to stay at home, self-monitor for symptoms, and take all recommended precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” advised Health Officer, Melissa Paulissen, M.D. “Staff have been provided instructions by managers verbally and will also receive written information via email.” Dr. Paulissen continued. The Tillamook clinic will be closed for the rest of week and through the weekend for deep cleaning per CDC guidelines. The Center plans to re-open the Tillamook clinic Monday, March 30, 2020, depending upon the results of the public health investigation.
“Since telemedicine (telephone and video) has been implemented at the Health Center, it is not necessary for patients to be physically present for an appointment, “advised Dr. Steffey. The mobile clinic will remain open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. this week. For information about cold and flu-like symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms, patients and public can call the COVID-19 line at: 503-842-3940. The Public Health Department is working to identify and notify all known contacts of the individual through its established case investigation process.
Those identified as contacts will be placed under monitoring and informed of any requirements for testing, self-isolation and/or medical care that may apply. COVID-19 is a highly infectious illness that spreads like the flu. Local and state health officials continue to urge all Oregonians to take steps to protect those who are most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19. Those considered “high risk” include adults 60 and older, or anyone with a serious health condition, including lung or heart problems, kidney disease, or diabetes, or anyone who has a suppressed immune system.
To help control the spread of the illness the public is urged to stay home as much as possible and avoid gatherings. Every resident should take these basic steps to protect those most at risk: Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Stay home if you feel ill.