Our community is understandably concerned about the spread of COVID-19 disease, caused by a novel coronavirus. As the region’s safety net health care provider, St. Charles Health System is prepared to care for patients arriving with respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.

It’s important to note that while Oregon has had 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19, there are currently no known cases in Crook, Deschutes or Jefferson counties. That doesn’t mean there is no risk, however, which is why St. Charles is working closely with local public health departments, the Oregon Health Authority and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to coordinate a regional response and contain the spread of the virus if it arrives in our communities.

What we’re doing now
St. Charles is working hard every day to be prepared.

Our patient access support specialists are asking symptom-screening and travel questions, and our caregivers are using that information to appropriately triage and isolate patients with respiratory symptoms.

Our health system has initiated its Hospital Incident Command Structure (or HICS as we call it), which is meeting daily to effectively manage our communications, logistics and planning efforts.

We’ve begun controlling access to our facilities to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and caregivers. At each access point, we are requiring individuals to sanitize their hands, as well as put on a mask if they show up with a fever, cough or cold symptoms. Those who are visitors, and not patients seeking care, may be asked to leave.

We’re also part of the Central Oregon Emergency Information Network (COEIN), which has established a Joint Information Center where many local and state agencies (including us) are working alongside one another to deliver timely, accurate communication and debunk myths. If you’re not already following this group, I encourage you to do so.

We are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution and with the goal of being proactive in the protection of our community. As the situation with COVID-19 changes rapidly, our response will also evolve. As always, your safety and quality of care is at the forefront of all we do.

Helpful resources
We know you continue to have many questions, and our partners in public health have done a great job of putting together resources, including the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions.

Up-to-date information is also available here:

I know it’s not high-tech, but the best way for all of us to prevent the spread of the new virus is the same as we prevent the spread of influenza and other viruses: Wash your hands, cover your coughs and stay home when you’re ill.

To stay informed about what we’re doing at St. Charles, keep an eye on our website or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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