Oregon State Senator Brian Boquist,
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to update and provide assistance to understand what is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 that are simple to follow but will have resounding impacts on public health.
• If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
• If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contact your medical provider.
• If someone in your household has tested positive for the Coronavirus, keep the entire household at home.
• If you are an older American, stay home and away from other people.
• If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition—such as a significant heart or lung problem—stay home and away from other people.
Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
On a more local level, here’s what you can do to offer support and build up a remote community during this unprecedented time, while also getting the accurate facts:
Order online and pick up take out from local restaurants that keep their doors open – even if they reduce hours. It is likely that 20% of Oregon’s workers that would normally be staffing hotels and restaurants, will be unemployed during this time. Every little bit helps, and shopping local has never been more important.
FOUR SIMPLE GUIDELINES FOR GROCERY SHOPPERS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC from the Northwest Grocers Association
1) THERE IS NO NEED TO HOARD MERCHANDISE
Federal, State, and Local governments are working with the industries that provide your food and essential goods to keep your grocery store open and stocked. The Covid-19 virus is not like a natural disaster that could immobilize trucks, or threaten water supplies. Everyone should shop to have an adequate supply of food and essential products, but there is no need to hoard supplies to be safe. Remember your neighbor behind you in line, they need toilet paper too!
2) SOCIAL DISTANCING WITH OTHER CUSTOMERS
At doors, in aisles, and in line, remember to take a step back and allow 3 to 6 feet of distance between you and your fellow customers. According to the CDC this is one of the most effective ways to prevent transmission. Think of it as seeing that person you’ve been avoiding, but without the hostility.
3) LIMITING CONTACT WITH STORE EMPLOYEES
Our employees are a critical link to your food supply. Please do the following to keep them as healthy as possible:
✓ Observe social distancing the best you can with department personnel and your clerk when checking out
✓ Use self-checkout stations whenever available. Ask for a cleaning or use a sanitation wipe before each use
✓ Bag your own groceries to mitigate the number of touches your bags and merchandise receive
4) SENIOR AND IMMUNE-COMPROMISED POPULATION ASSISTANCE
Some grocers are offering special morning hours for senior and immune compromised populations to shop. By coming early these population will have the advantage of overnight stocking, smaller crowds, and the first to enter after an overnight deep cleaning. Your help in respecting this time is appreciated.
Do you know a senior or immune compromised individual? Offer to do their shopping or help them navigate home delivery, even if it’s a neighbor you haven’t talked to in a while.
Stick to the original source of information and response to the coronavirus pandemic to dispel any myths or panic you may be experiencing. Monitor www.coronavirus.gov for updates on the President’s and federal agency responses and action steps to address this pandemic. There are so many resources coming our way that have not been headlined in the media.
While the timing of this virus means we can go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather as Oregon transitions from winter to spring. Be sure to keep a 6-foot distance around others, though.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is in short supply right now. If you, or someone you know, owns a business that uses face masks or protective suits and is willing to donate them, that would be incredibly powerful. Additionally, many organizations are seeking donations to provide food for high-risk populations. A little goes a long way in this situation.
• Meals on Wheels
• No Kid Hungry
• Feeding America
Tele-work and remote learning
Learn new technology and get to know co-workers and classmates in a new way. It’s not ideal, but one of the best ways to slow the spread of coronavirus is to limit contact with others.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are working together to deploy to states with the highest COVID-19 cases. Since Oregon has been behind in testing, the state must wait to get assistance from FEMA and HHS.
Testing for COVID-19 has moved to a much faster platform to reach more Americans. Prior to this technological upgrade, there has been a backlog of test results. There will likely be a steep incline in the number of positive cases seen in Oregon and nationwide over the coming days as the faster platform is integrated. Please stay calm and do not be alarmed – despite the media reports you may see.
Additionally, tests need to be prioritized to the higher risk population experiencing symptoms. If you have symptoms or are worried, contact your provider to arrange a plan for follow-up. The Center for Medicaid and Medicare has relaxed telemedicine regulations so you should be able to do some of this assessment over the phone with your provider rather than having to go into the clinic and risk exposing other patients and medical staff.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
There are federal programs that the State of Oregon needs to take advantage of, while also addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in ways that make sense. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed March 18, 2020. Here’s what it includes:
• Free coronavirus testing
• Paid sick leave
• Family leave for caregivers
• Food assistance for the needy
• Enhanced unemployment insurance
• Increased Medicaid funding for states
The USDA is running point on food supply chain security to keep federal nutrition programs delivering nutrition to our kids. There are many opportunities for public-private partnerships during this time to reach kids who have been sent home from school.
• Contact [email protected] with ideas or questions. anyone can email if they have ideas or
• Contact [email protected] for supply chain concerns.
Small Business Agency
Small businesses are eligible for economic injury disaster loans and the criteria to prove need has been reduced.
• Businesses can apply by going to www.SBA.gov/disaster.
Unemployment Insurance – Department of Labor
Through a federal and state partnership, the state administers unemployment insurance with greater flexibility due to COVID-19. It is important you try to remain patient with this federal agency as they are fielding several requests.
• Where to file: www.servicelocator.org
• For help with Wage/Hour Division www.DOL.gov
Education Loans and Student Federal Work Study
The President and Department of Education have waived federal student loan payments until further notice.
Final two items
• Donate blood: https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/coronavirus–covid-19–and-blood-donation.html
• Support manufacturing industry: https://www.nam.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-EXPANDED.pdf
Remember – we are all in this together.
Senator Brian Boquist
Senate District 12
email: [email protected]
address: 900 Court St NE, S-311, Salem, OR, 97301
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