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Apr-03-2020 14:44printcomments

Oregon's COVID Death Toll Rises to 22

Non-medical masks can supplement but not replace Stay Home, Save Lives.

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Photo: Artem Saranin, Pexels

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - COVID-19 has claimed one more life in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 22, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 8 a.m. today.

Oregon Health Authority also reported 73 new cases of COVID-19 as of 8 a.m. today. The new COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (5), Clatsop (1), Crook (1), Deschutes (4), Klamath (5), Malheur (1), Marion (14), Morrow (1), Multnomah (15), Polk (2), Washington (17), Yamhill (5).

Oregon Health Authority reports new cases once a day on its website: www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus.

Oregon’s 22nd COVID-19 death is a 71-year old man from Polk County, who tested positive on March 19 and died April 2 at Salem Hospital. He had underlying medical conditions.

OHA: Non-medical masks can supplement but not replace Stay Home, Save Lives.

With recent news that federal authorities may recommend wearing masks in public, Oregon Health Authority is reminding Oregonians that staying home and avoiding all non-essential contact with others continues to be the most important thing all of us can do to stay healthy and keep others healthy.

During moments where people must go out of the house, they should stay at least 6 feet apart from others at all times.

Before deciding whether to wear a mask, Oregon Health Authority recommends people keep two considerations central:

  • Medical masks should be reserved for health care providers who are on the front lines working with patients most likely to have COVID-19. We have had shortages of those masks – and it's critically important that our health care workers have the equipment they need to do their jobs.
  • Non-medical mask use (e.g., homemade fabric masks) does not replace the need to follow guidance to stay home and limit our contact with others. It does not replace frequent handwashing, avoiding touching the face, and staying away from people who are ill. These are the most important steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 illness.

“We continue to stress that medical masks are essential for health care workers who are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19," said Paul Cieslak, MD, medical director for communicable diseases, OHA Public Health Division.

"We need to preserve supplies of medical masks for our health care workers so they can stay safe as they work to keep all of us healthy. For the general public, homemade fabric masks, especially if well-made and well-fitting, may provide some benefit."

Wearing a fabric mask can help prevent the spread of infection to others when the mask is worn by someone who already is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, particularly if the person is coughing.

The mask may block some infectious droplets from spreading when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes and, to a lesser degree, speaks.

"The data do not tell us how much protection homemade cloth masks provide to the person wearing a homemade mask. For this reason, homemade and fabric masks should not be considered reliable protection; but they may provide some benefit," said Cieslak.

“Above all, we continue to stress that the reliable tool we have right now to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is strict social distancing – as outlined in Governor Brown’s ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ orders.”

Everyone, even people who are young and healthy, must stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Read more here about Governor Brown’s "Stay Home, Save Lives" orders. Read more here about OHA’s social distancing guidelines.

Changes in hospital reporting

COVID-19 hospital capacity data on today’s Daily Update, formerly labeled the Situation Status Report, or Sit Stat, is listed as “pending” due to data quality issues.

OHA is working with its partner hospitals to improve the COVID-19 data reporting process so we can ensure the accuracy, consistency and timeliness of the underlying data. The state has paused our public reporting so OHA can provide additional technical assistance to hospital staff.

OHA will resume public reporting of COVID-19 hospital capacity data as soon as we have achieved full compliance and consistency in data reporting across all sources.

Source: Oregon Health Authority

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