The Dalles chronicle. (The Dalles, OR) 1998-2020, March 07, 2020, Page 9, Image 9

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March 7-8, 2020
The Dalles, Oregon
Vol. 229, Issue 20
B 1
National, state and local
agencies coordinate response
TD patient tests
negative for
COVID-19 virus
■ By The Mark
Dalles Chronicle
On March 1, a patient
arrived at MCMC Emergency
Department with corona-
virus-like symptoms, but
has since been tested and
the results were negative,
according to a press release
from Mid-Columbia Medical
Mid-Columbia Medical
Center leadership has been
meeting weekly to prepare for
possible COVID-19 patients
presenting at the hospital,
said Stephanie Bowen in a
press release. “Our nurses
and physicians have been
kept up to date on screening
and identification, as well as
safety protocols.”
When the patient arrived
exhibiting symptoms, “out
of an abundance of caution,
the patient was promptly
placed in an isolation unit at
MCMC and the suspected
case was reported to North
Central Public Health and the
Oregon Health Authority,”
she said.
MCMC staff members
who came in contact with
the patient were asked to
selfquarantine under the
guidance of our local public
health department.
On March 2, the patient’s
lab results from the Oregon
State Lab confirmed that the
patient tested negative for the
The patient and family
have been informed of this,
as has the staff with whom
the patient came in contact.
“We will continue working
closely with NCPHD and
the OHA, and following all
recommended screening
guidelines,” said Bowen.
“We have a dedicated team
of healthcare professionals
who are trained to handle
patients with infectious
diseases, and we have a plan
in place to respond quickly to
any eventuality. Our num-
ber one priority remains the
safety of our patients and our
Oregon will be awarded
$500,000 by the Centers for
Disease Control to sup-
port response efforts to the
virus, Rep. Greg Walden
announced March 4.
“I applaud the CDC for
selecting Oregon to re-
ceive initial funding to help
support our response to the
coronavirus outbreak,” said
Walden. “This will help fund
needs such as monitoring
travelers, supplying medical
equipment, staffing and
infection control.”
As of March 4, there were
no cases of the COVID-19
virus within the jurisdiction
of the North Central Public
Health District, which covers
Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam
counties, district director
Teri Thalhofer told the Wasco
County Commissioners
Wednesday morning.
The health district initiated
an emergency management
command structure Feb. 27
to address the developing
situation in the region, and
it is working with Oregon
Health Authority to address
concerns and are in contact
with emergency managers
throughout the district,
Thalhofer said. Through the
emergency managers, the
district is encouraging first
responders to be fit-tested for
masks used to stop airborne
contaminants. “Testing or
mass use for the general
public is not recommended
at this time,” she said.
Thalhofer said every-
one is encouraged to go to
the OHA website, where
updated information on the
virus and recommendations
can be found. Links to OHA
and the national Center
for Disease Control can be
found on the district web-
site, She noted
that posted information is
changing very rapidly. “We
discourage people from
printing out these docu-
ments and using them as
references. We suggest they
go to the website, which is
refreshed when new infor-
mation is added.”
Automatic email updates
are available on the OHA and
CDC websites as well.
“If we have a case of
COVID-19 within the
jurisdiction, we will share
that information with the
public as soon as possible,”
Thalhofer said. “OHA and
other jurisdictions have been
notifying the public within
hours of receiving a positive
test result.”
As of Wednesday evening,
March 4, the OHA report-
ed three confirmed cases
in the state, 45 negatives
and 13 tests pending. 115
Oregonians are being mon-
itored, and 238 have either
completed monitoring or
were determinted not to be
at risk.
Thalhofer told the com-
missioners that should an
outbreak occur, and they
had specific questions,
they should contact her by
email—but warned that re-
sponse might be slow, as the
district’s capacity is limited
and they will be prioritizing
Asked about the value of
masks for the general public,
Thalhofer said such masks
can stop the disease from
spreading, but will not neces-
sarily protect the individual
from contracting the virus
unless they are specially
fitted to the individual.
There is no reason to
panic, she added. There are
a limited number of cases
in the United States, and the
majority of people who do
contract the virus have a mild
reaction, she explained.
According to a report by
Oregon Captital Bureau, The
state of Oregon has prepared
for a rapid increase in testing
for COVID-19 should federal
authorities, rattled by a rocky
start, expand the criteria of
who should be tested.
Last week, the Oregon
Health Authority received
1,500 kits to test for the novel
coronavirus, replacing kits
that the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention dis-
covered produced erroneous
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