Dear friends and neighbors, 

Events are moving so quickly and dramatically with the COVID-19 virus that many of us are feeling worried about what’s happening and anxious for information and assistance. This email is to share the latest information I have about what’s going on.

At Multnomah County we are taking important steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and we are asking you to do the same. Taking individual steps to prevent the spread of the virus is simply the most socially responsible thing we can do. 

Here is what’s important to know and do: 

  • Events of over 250 people have been banned statewide for the next four weeks; 

  • Schools statewide are closed beginning Monday, March 16th and lasting through Tuesday, March 31st.

  • People over 60 and those with underlying medical conditions should take steps to self-isolate themselves to reduce their risk of exposure to the virus, which is particularly dangerous for those individuals;

  • Everyone should practice social distancing when possible - staying more than 3 feet away from others and ideally 6 feet when possible; 

  • People should seek medical attention only if they are severely ill, as our healthcare system will likely be stretched in the coming weeks and months and we need care to be provided to those most in need; 

  • Those who are sick should quarantine themselves and consult a doctor if their symptoms match those of the COVID-19 virus, such as fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath;

  • Employers should allow those who can telecommute or work from home to do so;

  • And everyone should continue to wash their hands, cough and sneeze into their elbow, avoid touching their face, and clean commonly used surfaces regularly. 

These steps will reduce the transmission of this virus, protect our most vulnerable, and help prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. They will allow us to protect those who may need unexpected medical attention and those who provide essential services for our community, such as health workers, public safety employees, and others.

These closures, as well as the cancellations of events that have already taken place, will have a profound impact on the ability of many in our community to access food, attend work, generate income, or to simply have social connection.

Some steps have already been taken to make sure people have access to water and electricity during this outbreak. We also need ways to provide rent assistance, meals, child care, and other supports our communities will require. Conversations are happening now at the federal, state and local levels to put plans into action, but we need everyone’s best thinking and intentions to weather this well.

Challenges like this bring out the character of a people. And I know that our community will band together to look out for each other, care for one another, and build an even stronger and more resilient community. 

Please feel free to contact my office if you have ideas on how to help each other or questions about what’s going on. We are here to help. 

In this together,

JVP

PS: You can obtain the latest information by visiting the County’s website on the virus, as well as following the County and Health Department social media accounts.