Crook County: Recent COVID-19 case rise includes 4 St. Charles Prineville caregivers
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Case count at 43, nearly doubled in two weeks

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) — Crook County has maintained a low case count of COVID-19 up to this point. In the past two weeks, however, there has been a near-doubling in the number of active cases, including four caregivers at St. Charles Prineville, officials said Saturday.

The Oregon Health Authority on Saturday reported one new COVID-19 case in Crook County, for a total of 41. That compares to 22 cases two weeks ago and 31 a week ago.

Here’s a news release issued Saturday by county Public Information Officer Vicky Ryan:

This is a concern because an increase in cases means that the community is still very vulnerable and may be getting a little too relaxed with wearing face coverings and the level of contact in social and work environments. 

The Crook County Health Department, through its investigative process, has determined that the increase in cases is largely due to a combination of social interactions and workplace exposures.

Crook County citizens have done their part to keep the numbers low up to this point, and it is very important to remember that the virus is still here and there continues to be a need to be diligent. 

Please continue to wash your hands, wear face coverings and keep 6 feet away from people who are not a part of your immediate household.

Despite fear and anxiety, this community has stayed united and together. Now more than ever, there is a need to continue the safety precautions and treat every interaction as if someone in any group may have the virus. 

As there continues to be more visitors and tourists coming into Central Oregon from other areas where cases are much higher, there needs to be an increased level of mindfulness as to the practices and behaviors of the local community in order to reduce virus spread.   

There has been an increase in the number of cases reported in Crook County workplace environments. Whether this is from someone commuting from another county to work here or if it is brought into the workplace through community spread, we must continue to practice safety in all areas of our life.

One of the local businesses that has reported active cases is St. Charles Prineville, where four caregivers have tested positive.

“At this time, we believe there is minimal risk to our patients due to policies and procedures already in place, including door screening, Plexiglas dividers and use of masks and other kinds of personal protective equipment,” said Iman Simmons, St. Charles chief operating officer and one of two incident commanders of the health system’s COVID-19 response. “Our hospital is a safe place, and we don’t want anyone to delay their care.”

These next few months will be difficult, and it will take a lot of work to continue to follow the guidance for keeping ourselves and our community safe.  It is understood that everyone is ready to get back to daily lives, but this may not happen for quite some time as cases continue to increase in Crook County and across the state.

To keep yourself, your loved ones and your workplace safe, it is important to limit close contact with people who are not from your immediate household.  

Our Reality:

The virus will be here until there is immunity, which is many months off and requires a vaccine. 

  • The primary tools are physical distancing, hygiene, and use of face coverings
  • Every restriction lifted increases the chance of transmission and may increase cases

Actions needed to keep up to protect our community and health care system:

  • If you are sick, stay home – do not go to work. If you become ill during your workday remove yourself from contact with clients and co-workers and report to your supervisor, then go home.
  • Vulnerable populations must still stay home – 25.9% of Crook County’s population is 65 and older and are considered to be at high risk
  • Limit visitations to nursing homes 
  • Limit social gatherings to no more than 10
  • Limit travel
  • Practice regular hygiene, cleaning, and sanitation
  • Stay home when sick
  • Telework when possible
  • Wear face coverings when in public, indoors and outdoors when 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained

For more information or general questions, the Crook County Health Department will be there to refer you to the right place to get answers – Office:  541-447-5165

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