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TRACE team members in Newport, Oregon.

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Public health leaders in Lincoln County offer a range of resources to help community members in Newport and throughout the county address the risk of COVID-19 and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Lincoln County Health & Human Services reminds everyone that safety begins with physical distancing, hand-washing and the use of face coverings in public spaces.

Information about face coverings, public health services and COVID-19 is available by calling the county’s call center at 541-265-0621 or by emailing LINCOLNCOCALLCENTER@CO.LINCOLN.OR.US. The call center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., has Spanish speakers on staff and will also provide interpreter services for speakers of other languages.

Anyone who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, needs help getting access to testing, has been instructed to quarantine or needs assistance of any other kind, including feeling anxious or isolated, is urged to contact the call center. People suffering a mental health crisis related to COVID-19 or for any other reason are encouraged to call a counseling center recommended by the county at 866-266-0288.

“The OSU TRACE study confirmed what we have been seeing in our case investigations,” said Rebecca Austen, Lincoln County health department director. “We have families without insurance or benefits suffering significant economic hardship. Children and grandparents in families are ill. We as individuals need to buckle down and focus on what we know will prevent the spread of the virus. We as a community need to do our part and protect others by following the guidance we've been saying for months: Physical distance, protect others with a face covering, and keep clean by washing your hands frequently.”

Symptoms of COVID-19, in addition to fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, and loss of smell and/or taste, are now known to include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, you should quarantine for 14 days, and get tested if symptoms develop, health officials say.

If you have tested positive, isolate for 10 days from others in your home. If you develop symptoms, isolate for 10 days after the symptoms begin and three more days after they’ve passed.

General information about the virus can be found on Lincoln County Health & Human Services’ COVID-19 web page. The county health department also has a site dedicated to public information updates.

“The results of Oregon State University’s TRACE study in Lincoln County are very concerning and suggest the need for residents to take action to halt the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases for the Oregon Health Authority. “If infections in Lincoln County continue to circulate at these rates, far more people risk getting sick. To prevent this, people must take the advice to wear a face covering in public, stay 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with and limit or eliminate any gatherings.

“I also remind people to answer the call if the health authority calls to let you know you may have been exposed to the virus,” Cieslak said, regarding Lincoln County’s contract tracing services.

Samaritan Health Services, which operates a hospital and multiple clinics in Newport, is offering drive-through coronavirus testing in Depoe Bay and Waldport with a clinician’s order.

Samaritan offers the following guidance to those who want or need a COVID-19 test:

If you are a Samaritan patient and have a MyChart account, do a MyChart E-Visit, which is free if you choose the visit type “Coronavirus Concerns.” A clinician will review the information you provide and order testing as needed.

If you are new to Samaritan Health Services, call 855-543-2780. Staff will assist you in creating a MyChart account so you may complete an E-Visit.

Call your primary care provider so they can assess your symptoms and order testing as needed. Do not go to your primary care provider’s clinic if you think you have coronavirus symptoms.

If you think you need to go to the hospital, call before going.

If you have life-threatening symptoms, call 911.

Questions about the Samaritan testing sites can be emailed to COVIDtest@samhealth.org.

The Oregon State University Extension Service is another source of general COVID-19 information in Lincoln County in both English and Spanish. Questions can be directed to Beatrice Botello, program assistant, at Beatriz.Botello@oregonstate.edu.

Botello is involved with a project called Listos, which distributes public health materials among Latinx and Spanish-speaking community members in the county.

Dusti Linnell, OSU assistant professor of practice for Extension in Lincoln and Tillamook counties, is ramping up family and community health communications via social media and radio and through other classes that reinforce guidance from the OHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The communications include information about face coverings, physical distancing, limiting social gatherings and high-speed handwashing for workplaces.

“This is the time for all members of the Newport and Lincoln County community to support each other and take part in public health measures to protect themselves and to protect others,” said Javier Nieto, dean of OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and part of the TRACE leadership team. “Following public health recommendations is the most effective way to keep your family, your friends and the entire community healthy.”

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