Deschutes County Behavioral Health Dr Berry

Spread of novel and contagious illness carries with it fears common to other such crises — fears about disruption to our normal routine, material damages, even loss of life for ourselves or those we love. But the risk of pandemic also carries with it anxieties of isolation. As communities work to prepare and respond to COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) they grapple with questions of whether to gather, how to respond to the ill and when to request voluntarily quarantine. Such discussion may intensify a deeply held and universal fear — that we may be separated from our people, left to face the burdens of life alone. Therefore, as our community takes steps to counteract COVID-19, it is worth taking a moment and considering our own psychological health and that of our neighbors. Read more…

What does “presumptive positive” mean?

Presumptive positive — A presumptive positive test is for the time between an initial positive test for the virus by a public health lab but before the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the results. A presumptive positive result from a CDC test is treated as if the patient is positive for the virus, according to the CDC.

First Presumptive Positive COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Deschutes County

News Release from Central Oregon Emergency Information Network
Posted on FlashAlert: March 11th, 2020 4:07 PM

Bend, Ore. – (March 11, 2020) – Public health officials in Deschutes County announced a presumptive positive case of COVID-19, the first in the county. The case was announced at a local press conference today following announcement from Oregon Health Authority of four new cases statewide.

Deschutes County Health Department has launched the contact investigation process to identify and notify anyone who may have had contact with this individual during the exposure period.

The case is being treated at a St. Charles Health System facility in an isolation room. St. Charles has been preparing for how to best protect patients and staff, including making plans if required to treat additional cases and ensuring adequate supplies of personal protective equipment. Visiting restrictions to hospitals and clinics as well as screening at entries continue to be priorities.

Every resident should take these basic steps to protect those most at risk:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you feel ill.

Health officials continue to urge community members to take steps to protect those who are most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19. Those considered “high risk” include adults 60 and older, or anyone with a serious health condition, including lung or heart problems, kidney disease, or diabetes, or anyone who has a suppressed immune system.

People vulnerable to complications should follow federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to stay home as much as possible and avoid gatherings.

Deschutes County Health Department recognizes community concern surrounding COVID-19 and is working with multiple health agencies and community partners to disseminate accurate and up-to-date information available at

Central Oregon public health officials recommend that individuals with concerns about COVID-19 and their health first call their local health care provider. The provider can determine if individuals need to be seen and let them know what their next steps should be. This allows local emergency rooms the capacity to care for those with critical health needs. For general questions, call 2-1-1.

Oregon Health Authority recommends that physicians rule out influenza and other common respiratory pathogens prior to testing for COVID-19.

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. The goal of medical care is to support the person who is ill, supply oxygen if needed, and help lessen the symptoms until the immune system kicks in and kills the virus.

Calling ahead before seeking medical attention is an important step in protecting the health of the public and health care providers. Those who seek care at a clinic or hospital may be asked to:

  • Wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Put on a mask to limit spread of the virus.
  • Make sure to keep their distance from other individuals.


Deschutes Public Health

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, shortness of breath.

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Central Oregon Emergency Information Network

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Central Oregon Works To Fight ‘Information Crisis’ Around Coronavirus

Central Oregon officials from health care, schools, law enforcement and government packed into close quarters in Bend on Monday night, transforming a basement room into an operations center where the mission was to meet fear with accurate information, and try to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in the region. 

State Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, praises emergency planners in Bend, Ore., with Bend Mayor Sally Russell and Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone at a meeting on Monday, March 2, 2020. 

State Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, praises emergency planners in Bend, Ore., with Bend Mayor Sally Russell and Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone at a meeting on Monday, March 2, 2020. 

Emily Cureton/OPB

“We don’t have a public health crisis in this community at this moment. We have an information crisis because the information that is out there is not consistent, it’s not clear, and often it’s not accurate,” said Julianne Repman, the Bend La-Pine Schools District director of communication and safety. 

What To Know About The New Coronavirus

The new coronavirus is spreading across the Pacific Northwest. Here some basic things to know:

• Coronavirus is more severe and more contagious than the flu. Take it seriously but don’t panic.
• The elderly and immune-compromised are most at-risk, but everyone can get sick.
• If you are sick stay home, self-quarantine and call your doctor.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is a backup option.
• Cough into a sleeve. Wash hands after coughing. Avoid touching your face.
• Sterilize things you touch often, like computers, phones, keys, and tablets.
• If you have prescriptions, call your doctor and ask for a 3-month supply in case of drug shortages.

There were no presumed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, disclosed in Deschutes, Jefferson or Crook counties as of Tuesday morning.

Repman urged skepticism of social media posts and directed people to a website for regional safety information and updates

Central Oregon school districts will implement a pandemic plan this week, according to Repman.

“You’re going to see things like more cleaning of high touch areas in schools,” Repman said. “We’re going to start asking everyone who comes into our schools to wash their hands when they come in, and when they leave.”

But even some elected officials at the meeting were unsure of best practices. 

“You really need to wash your hands with warm water,” chimed in Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair.

“So, it’s actually about the friction,” corrected Heather Kaisner, the head of Deschutes County’s program for communicable disease and emergency response. “It’s really about soap and water, and it’s really that friction in making sure you’re getting in your fingernails and everywhere else.”

St. Charles Health System spokeperson Lisa Goodman said false information can fuel panic and divert essential health care resources away from people who actually need them. For now, the region’s only hospital is asking people to call before they come in with respiratory symptoms and fever. The hospital anticipates rolling out more restrictions this week, Goodman said.


“You may or may not have COVID-19, but in the event that you do, this helps public health and the hospital coordinate their response so as to reduce exposure to other people,” she stressed.

“The single biggest issue that St. Charles is dealing with, and many other hospitals are grappling with, is the supplies,” Goodman said, citing manufacturing shortages of protective equipment like masks and gowns due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in China.

Hand hygiene is central to the messaging for preventing coronavirus spread. Central Oregon public health departments distributed hand sanitizer at a meeting in Bend, Ore., on Monday, March 2, 2020. 

Hand hygiene is central to the messaging for preventing coronavirus spread. Central Oregon public health departments distributed hand sanitizer at a meeting in Bend, Ore., on Monday, March 2, 2020. 

Emily Cureton/OPB

She said St. Charles is currently relying on a stockpile of 10,000 masks ordered last month.  

The meeting closed with an invitation to grab a small bottle of hand sanitizer for the road. Some of the emergency planners practiced saying goodbye by bumping elbows instead of touching. But many of the longtime colleagues still shook hands, or hugged.