Friends and Neighbors,
The COVID-19 virus (often referred to as the Coronavirus) is emerging as an international healthcare crisis. I want you to have the most accurate information available to ensure we are all making the most rational, reasonable, and responsible decisions possible.
To begin with, we now know that both Marion and Polk County have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Although these cases appear to have little direct connection to either travel outside the United States or known areas of the outbreak, they are nonetheless legitimate confirmed cases within our community. We will likely experience more cases within the next few weeks. This is to be expected because of the nature of this virus, which has only been observed in humans since late last year. It is a virus that is contagious for a while longer than usual; people may not even be aware they have been exposed unless/until they begin to experience symptoms (and some may never experience symptoms).
To reduce the spread of the virus, Governor Kate Brown has declared a state of Emergency and taken the unprecedented steps of closing K-12 public schools for at least four weeks, prohibiting gatherings of 25 people or larger, and closed restaurants and bars to on-site consumption. All these steps are to promote social distancing, which means reducing contact with people, especially in large crowds. This is critical to our strategy to help slow the spread of this highly contagious disease.
We are learning as we go. Our best strategy at this point is to remember the basics: the risk of spreading the virus is greatly reduced when we cover our coughs and sneezes. Used tissues should be disposed of as soon as possible. Good sanitation, including thorough washing of our hands (often) with soap and water (or alcohol), is important. Whenever possible, we should stay home. When leaving the house, it is necessary to maintain three to six feet away from others and avoid close contact with people who are already sick.
Finally, our office is starting to receive correspondence from workers and small business owners who are being adversely impacted as a result of this crisis. It is important to know that there are federal and state resources being made available to lessen the potential economic impacts. I want to know what you think will help. If you are a worker or a small business owner who has already been impacted. Please email me at Rep.email@example.com.
We will continue to provide updates with the most current information available as we receive it on our social media pages. For the most up to date information, please visit the Oregon Health Authority Website at www.oregon.gov/oha
Please remember that we are all in this together, and together we will demonstrate the character of our people and our place. Please take the time to check in on your neighbors, and thank you for all you do to make the mid-valley a wonderful place to live.
Paul L Evans
State Representative House District 20