Mar 9, 2020, 16:00 PM
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In short: If you need medical care, contact your provider as you normally would.
For the most up-to date information about coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, visit the Oregon Health Authority and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both organizations offer a daily email newsletter. OHA also has a general information hotline that can be reached by dialing 211.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
COVID-19 may cause fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Most people who get the virus will have only mild symptoms. People at risk for more significant symptoms include the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and/or weakened immune systems.
While there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19, if your symptoms are mild and you do not need medical attention, you can treat COVID-19 as you would other viral illnesses. If you need medical attention, you should call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call an urgent care clinic.
Staff will screen everyone who checks in to primary or urgent care clinics and will handle your situation from there. A provider will determine if a test needs to be administered through the county. Salem Health does not provide tests.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but you can prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 by:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Avoiding touching your face
- Staying home when you are sick
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
Masks are not necessary for healthy individuals. If you have respiratory symptoms like a cough, a mask is a great tool to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
We have been preparing to handle cases of COVID-19 since December. We understand the threat of infectious disease and the anxiety it can bring to the community. Here are a few of the things we are doing to keep our community healthy:
- Using virtual care. If you think you might be sick and want to minimize exposure to others, or if you want to avoid others who might be sick, you might be a candidate for virtual care through MyChart. Learn more here.
- Screening patients during scheduling and check-in (both over the phone and in person). Patients who meet the criteria for potential COVID-19 infection will be directed to wait and be treated in designated areas to help contain exposure to other individuals.
- Coordinating care with OHA and county public health departments.
- Managing the supply of personal protective equipment like masks, glasses, gloves and gowns.
- Providing ongoing education. As we learn more about this new disease, we are updating staff, clinicians, patients and visitors about how to prevent and treat the illness.
If you cannot find answers to your questions from OHA or the CDC, you can also call the Salem Health switchboard at 503-561-5200 to reach an information line.