Local News: Clatsop County gears up for the coronavirus
Officials in Astoria and surrounding areas are preparing for the coronavirus. Joanne Rideout has more.
Story transcript follows, scroll down to Listen [2:13]
At Monday’s Astoria City Council meeting, Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones addressed concerns about COVID-19, the coronavirus. He said he’d met with county and school administrators and health department officials to discuss protocols. He said all are making plans and getting prepared.
Bruce Jones: “And I want to just pass on that the county health department has been in continuous, continuous communication with not only CMH, but with other medical providers, with the Oregon Health Authority, with the CDC.”
Jones said information was being updated rapidly, and the county has made the coronavirus situation its current top priority. He said officials recommend taking the normal steps anyone would take during flu season.
“So it’s washing your hands regularly, using disinfectant, staying home if you’re sick, and that other guidance that we’ve all seen.”
Jones said last year during a flu outbreak some local schools closed down for deep cleaning and were prepared to do so again if necessary. Jones also addressed specific questions he had received regarding cruise ships.
“The Coast Guard is the federal agency which, 365 days a year already monitors all foreign vessels and vessels with foreign crew members, for a variety of screening factors which include infectious diseases, long before the coronavirus ever appeared. That’s what they do every day. They’re very good at that, they have developed new protocols in concert with the CDC. And are engaged in carrying out those protocols to monitor any inbound ships from foreign ports of with foreign passengers or crew aboard.”
Jones said officials did not see any reason currently to change protocol regarding public events, and said he was comfortable with the county’s response to the situation. Jones has a long history in the field of emergency preparedness and response. As a former Coast Guard captain, he was Columbia River Sector commander at Air Station Astoria locally before becoming mayor, and in 2005, led USCG aviation rescue operations in New Orleans during that agency’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
As of Tuesday, there have so far been no cases of COVID-19 diagnosed so far in Clatsop County. I’m Joanne Rideout reporting.