Clackamas County Declares State of Emergency as ‘Precautionary Move’ in Response to Coronavirus

Calling it a “precautionary move” to be as “prepared as possible” in addressing future coronavirus (COVID-19) incidents in Clackamas County, the Board of Commissioners on Monday declared a state of emergency.

This declaration, which is different than calling a “public health emergency,” allows the county to seek additional resources from the state, while also streamlining resources and staffing to establish emergency policies and protocols.

It may also allow the county, eventually, to recoup financial costs associated with emergency response.

“We are monitoring this situation very closely, and we’re taking all precautions under the circumstances,” said Clackamas County Disaster Management Director Nancy Bush.

Further, the declaration will give county officials the power to commit to mutual aid agreements, redirect funds for emergency use, and order such other measures as are found to be immediately necessary for the protection of life and/or property.

The emergency declaration action was taken in accordance with the Clackamas County Code. The full declaration may be read below:

Click to access declaringemergency-corona.pdf

Clackamas County has been working with public health officials from the state of Oregon and Washington County to address the recent incidents of presumptive coronavirus in a person who works at a Lake Oswego elementary school, and a second case who was reportedly a contact of the first.

This declaration of emergency is set to expire on Monday, March 16.

The declaration comes amid Monday’s announcement that health officials have identified a third presumptive positive case of COVID-19 among state residents: an adult Oregon resident from Umatilla County who has been hospitalized in Walla Walla, Wash.

State and local health officials are moving quickly to contact people who may have been in close contact with the individual who tested as a presumptive positive case. Preliminary reports indicate the Oregon resident attended a youth basketball game at a gymnasium at Weston Middle School, 205 E. Wallace St. in Weston, Ore., on Saturday, Feb. 29.

Under federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, other spectators who may have been in a closed environment with the individual would be considered “low-risk” exposures.

Athena-Weston School District officials have closed the gym and will conduct a deep cleaning out of an abundance of caution. The gym is physically detached from the rest of the school. Health officials do not consider the separate school building to pose any risk of exposure.

Like the first case, this patient has not been linked to travel to a part of the world with known cases of COVID-19. It is considered a case of community transmission.

People who may have attended Saturday’s basketball game may call 211 (Oregon residents), the Washington State Department of Health at 800-525-0127 or Walla Walla Couny at 509-524-0127 with questions.

Oregon health officials continues to recommend all people take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of many respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza:

  • 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 U.S.
  • Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms. If you are feeling sick with mild symptoms and do not need to see medical care, stay home while you recover. If you are sick and plan to seek care, please call before going in for care so arrangements can be made to prevent exposing others. For urgent medical needs, call 911.

    For more information:

    OHA Emerging Respiratory Disease page: www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus
    Washington Department of Health: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus
    CDC COVID-19 page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
    CDC travel notice: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
    WHO page: https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/novel-coronavirus

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