He began Saturday with the town hall held in Grants Pass where he answered questions and discussed with residents about a variety of topics. Such discussions revolved around the expansion of rural broadband networks and improvements being made to help veterans.
But the main issue discussion continued to circle back to was the coronavirus and the newest updates after the Oregon Health Authority said it had one presumptive case in Washington County near Portland.
Congressman Walden emphasized it will be about a year before a vaccine is available but said steps at the federal level are being taken to ensure funding will be available to help local health officials if the number of cases continues to grow.
After the town hall meeting, he gathered with public health officials from Jackson and Josephine County to discuss readiness for the novel coronavirus.
They explained that steps are in place to handle quarantine situations if COVID-19 appears. At this point, there have been no known cases reported or monitored by health officials in either county.
However, there is concern about shortages of safety equipment like face masks. Congressman Walden says Congress is working on passing funding to support health efforts like the CDC but reminded people there is no pandemic level threat.
For those who are concerned and stockpiling medical equipment, Walden and health officials say if you are not sick you should not be stockpiling such items as masks.
“Leave the professional gear for the medical professionals,” he said. “We need to keep them healthy especially if there is some outbreak. They’ll need access to that.”
Walden says in Oregon and across the country, the state and federal government do have stockpiles of medical devices and medicine. The trouble is that China was the main manufacturer of a lot of this equipment such as masks and current resources being produced are low.
Public health officials want to remind everyone that the best preventative measures still include washing hands, coughing and sneezing away from others and staying indoors and contacting your doctor if you start to develop a cold.
For more information, Congressman Walden’s page has updates and links to resources about COVID-19. You can find those by clicking here.
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