04-03-2020 Daily Local COVID-19 Update

Douglas Co. Government

(Douglas County, Ore.) – Among its many priorities, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners and the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team (DCCRT), has quickly assembled a group of local health care leaders to address the virus’s arrival in the community resulting in an unprecedented collaborative effort to stem its incursion into the community.

Representatives from the Roseburg VA Health Care System, Evergreen Family Medicine, CHI Mercy Medical Health, Umpqua Health Alliance, Aviva Health, Adapt, Lower Umpqua Hospital and other area health leaders have joined forces to address the county’s medical response to the crisis, each player doing its part to save lives, protect resources and ensure the hospitals maintains inpatient capacity.

“The response from the local medical community has truly been remarkable,” says Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman. “These institutions have taken on substantial aspects of our overall plan, and they’ve gone above and beyond to respond to this emergency in a cohesive and unified manner.”

Roseburg VA Health Care System Director Keith Allen says his Incident Command Team is communicating with counterparts in local, county, state and federal agencies to ensure the facility and its health care providers are prepared should the need arise.

“We are planning for contingencies that may include patient care for non-veterans,” says Allen.

Evergreen Family Medicine, a local primary care provider, is also solidifying plans to support the community response. The organization is fine tuning details around standing up a cough and fever clinic, an important measure to ease unnecessary emergency department utilization, closely guard supplies of personal protective equipment and ensure patients who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 have access to appropriate care and counsel.

CHI Mercy Medical Center has also joined the cadre of local medical leaders to contribute to the community effort in addition to serving the crucial role as the county’s largest resource for emergency department and ICU beds.

Local COVID-19 Test Results

As of 12:00 PM, April 3, 2020, there are no new cases of COVID-19 in Douglas County. The number of positive cases stands at ten, one recovered, zero deaths and 314 negative tests for COVID-19 in the county.

The sixth Douglas Public Health Network COVID-19 drive through testing clinic ran today, Friday April 3.   Another testing clinic will be held in Reedsport on Saturday, April 4, 2020.  At this time, you can only get a COVID-19 test through your healthcare provider. Residents must be identified by their health care provider, as a patient that is symptomatic, and needs to be tested.  Information has been given to providers and clinics about how to get their patients signed up for the drive-through testing clinics.  If you want to be tested, you must talk to your health care provider.  Tests are currently being processed at the Oregon State Public Health Lab and a growing number of commercial labs, like Quest and LabCorp. There are very few outpatient clinics in Douglas County offering testing at this time. Community health partners are working very hard to make testing available to a wider number of people. The first drive thru testing site was piloted in the county on March 17, 2020, 168 people have been tested so far in the DPHN sponsored drive through clinics.

DPHN Launches Epi-Strike Team

Douglas Public Health Network launched their Epi-Strike team to help with investigation, contract tracing and epidemiology containment efforts.  Epidemiology, or epi for short, is the method and discipline of finding the causes of disease and death in populations.  In a pandemic, epidemiologists study the distribution, frequency and pattern of the infectious disease and determine causes and risk factors.  There are four trained Epidemiologists that work for DPHN, these staff have been working around the clock reviewing global, national, state and local data for trends and patterns. These highly trained staff have also been in contact with the cases that test positive locally, performing interviews, contract tracing, explaining quarantine specifics and monitoring status daily until the individual is recovered.  In preparation for increased numbers of cases, DPHN assembled a team of seven additional people to help with epidemiology investigations, this team was titled the Epi-Strike team.  These individuals were trained on patient interviews and basic epidemiology and will be supervised by DPHN staff epidemiologists. 

“We have a great team of epidemiologists working at DPHN. Our staff have worked for the CDC, WHO and multiple state and local public health entities. We are lucky to have such a specialized, highly trained team. Even though our team is larger than most counties in the state, we assembled the Epi-Strike team in preparation for increased positive cases, to ensure that we can do as much as we can to investigate and contain further spread, a core function of public health,” Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer said.


Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer will be doing another Facebook Live Q&A event tonight, Friday April 3rd at 6:00 pm on the Douglas Public Health Network Facebook page

Oregon COVID-19 Case Update

Oregon Health Authority reports new cases once a day on its website at www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus.  The Oregon Health Authority is also releasing the daily situation status report, which is produced jointly with Oregon Office of Emergency Management. It details the overall picture of the COVID-19 outbreak within the state and the response across government agencies. Read more here about the daily situation status report.

Governor announces initiative to support small businesses

Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday announced the launch of the Coronavirus Small Business Resource Navigator, an initiative intended to help connect small businesses to financial support and information they need to stay in business through the COVID-19 CRISIS.

Business Oregon will be leading the initiative, which will include a hotline and a website containing comprehensive information on key programs for small businesses including the federal CARES Act (Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and debt relief), state of Oregon programs such as the Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund; and local government programs.

“My goal is to connect thousands of Oregon’s small businesses with federal, state and local financial support available to small businesses dealing with the impacts of COVID-19,” Gov. Brown said. “There are potentially billions of dollars available from the CARES Act, and I want Oregon businesses to get their fair share.”

Local Mask Effort

Douglas Public Health Network has been working with Oregon Serigraphics, via the Umpqua Sewing Warriors, to provide homemade masks to medical clinics, first responders, fire/ems, and Mercy Medical Center. These masks were to be used for patients who come in with respiratory symptoms, which allows the medical system to save medical grade masks for front-line workers.  DPHN set up a consistent pattern, materials to be used and a sanitation process. You can learn more about how to join this effort by joining Umpqua Sewing Warriors on Facebook.

If you want to make masks, you can pick up kits for sewing and drop off completed masks on Tuesdays and Friday from noon-5 at the entryway of Oregon Serigraphics at 333 NE Jackson Street. These are then sanitized and given to DPHN to distribute directly to medical providers.
There are a few other groups in our county that are contributing to making masks for community members and other essential workers such as day care providers, grocery store employees, etc. You can find more information about these groups by visiting their Facebook page, The Douglas County Helpers.  The group The Timber Faller’s Daughter is working in Reedsport on this effort. You can also find them on Facebook.

If you would like to make your own mask, the pattern that DPHN and Serigraphics have been using can be found here.

New Small Business Loan Program Launches Today

Douglas County’s small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis will be able to apply for forgivable loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) starting today, Friday, April 3, according to the Small Business Administration. The new program, created through the recently signed CARES Act, is designed to help businesses keep workers on their payroll.
Douglas County leaders are making it a priority to disseminate important information about federal assistance opportunities. “We continue to gather information from several sources related to the economic stimulus package for local small businesses, and we will continue to get that information out as it comes in,” Commissioner Chris Boice said. “Again, it is very important to support our local business community while taking every available precaution to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

Those eligible for PPP loans, including small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, private nonprofits and veterans’ organizations, may qualify for a loan of up to $10 million, with amounts determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll, plus 25 percent of that amount. The loans will be fully forgiven if employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. Businesses that have had layoffs but quickly rehire laid-off workers are also eligible for loan forgiveness. 

Loans are limited to one per business. For more information on PPP loans, visit the Small Business Administration’s website. Additionally, here is a fact sheet on PPP loans. The program is available through June 30, 2020. Interested business owners should contact their local lenders. Because the rollout was rapid, some lenders may not yet be ready to process applications. Here is a list of participating Oregon lenders. More information on assistance available through the CARES Act, including debt relief and tax provisions, can be found in this guide .

“Our hearts go out to those affected by this terrible virus,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon. “Our communities around the country are stepping up, and we will get through this together.”
Disaster loans

Local businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak can also apply for low-interest federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million. The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that otherwise couldn’t be paid due to COVID pandemic and its effects.

Oregon has been designated as an economic disaster area due to COVID-19, which opens the door for Oregon business owners to apply for these loans. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 for nonprofits. The application can be found on the Small Business Administration’s website. Anyone with questions about the disaster loans can call the SBA at (800) 659-2955 or email customerservice@sba.gov">disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

Local SBDCs

Local Small Business Development Center staff are available to help business owners navigate these financial opportunities. For the Roseburg area, contact the Umpqua SBDC at (541) 430-9009 or lisa.woods@umpqua.edu. In Western Douglas County, contact the Southwestern SBDC at (541) 283-6118 or dc@socc.edu">sbdc@socc.edu.

First Responders to Show Support for Health Care Workers

On Friday night, April 3rd, around 7:15 PM there will be a processional of local first responders around Mercy Medical Center showing their support for Mercy Medical Center and its staff.  Our local law enforcement, fire department personnel, and other first responders would like to take time to show our support for our hospital staff, and to recognize the incredible work they are doing through these trying times.  We are proud of our community and the way we always come together to work hard, and get through difficult times as a team.

Thank you to the Oregon State Police, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Douglas County Search and Rescue, Roseburg Police, Sutherlin Police, Winston Police, Myrtle Creek Police, Roseburg Fire Department, and Douglas County District #2 Fire Department for their participation in tonight's event.

Research confirms importance of social distancing

The Oregon Health Authority said Wednesday that the latest research confirms the key role of social distancing in slowing the spread of COVID-19.  “There is strong evidence that measures currently in place in Oregon are reducing transmission,” stated a report from the Institute of Disease Modeling.
Due to the time delay between infection and diagnosis, the exact impact of Oregon’s “stay-at-home” order is not yet clear, but the statewide reduction in social activities appears to be helping reduce transmission rates.

“We stress the need for a continuation of strong social distancing measures to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the report stated.

State gives schools guidelines for K-12 distance learning

The state Department of Education earlier this week shared with local educators new “Distance Learning for All” guidelines for grades K-12. State education officials are acknowledging the possibility that schools will not reopen before the end of the academic year.
“Maintaining student-to-educator relationships will ensure care, connection and continuity of learning for us and our students,” the guide states. “We are in this together.”
School districts have until April 13 to connect every Oregon student to a distance-learning plan. The state has not yet released guidance on how to manage seniors set to graduate with the Class of 2020 from their local high schools. State testing has been canceled for the year.

Stay Informed with the Accurate Information

Your Douglas County Board of Commissioners, Douglas County Public Health Officer, Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer and the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team have been working hard to cooperatively provide accurate and timely information and a response to Douglas County residents. If you have questions about resources available, call the COVID-19 hotline, staffed by local volunteers at (541) 464-6550.  Stay up to date on COVID-19 in Douglas County on the DPHN website at www.douglaspublichealthnetwork.org.  Find additional information on state, federal and international COVID-19 response from the following websites: Oregon Health AuthorityCenters for Disease Control, World Health Organization and by calling or logging onto 211Info.