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Oregon state website has information on coronavirus

With the coronavirus now popping up in California, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before it spreads to the Rogue Valley. I was wondering what state health officials are doing to educate the public and take some proactive measures to counter any spread.

— Alex D., Central Point

Actually, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on to get health agencies ready and to alert the public, Alex.

On Friday, Gov. Kate Brown announced she created a Coronavirus Response Team that coordinates with the Oregon Health Authority and other local health agencies.

On the state’s website, oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Pages/emerging-respiratory-infections.aspx, you can see how many people are currently being monitored or have completed monitoring without developing symptoms. As of Friday, 178 people have completed monitoring without developing symptoms and another 76 are still being monitored. No confirmed cases of the virus have been found in Oregon.

Washington, California and Arizona have all had confirmed cases.

Health officials recommend Oregonians follow similar steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that they would take for the flu. The new strain of coronavirus is also referred to as COVID-19.

The steps include covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discarding the tissue immediately in the trash. Wash hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Clean and disinfect surfaces people often touch. Keep up-to-date with vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control also has a lot of information about the virus at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

So far in the U.S., we’ve had 12 confirmed travel-related cases of the virus and three person-to-person cases. A total of 459 people have been tested.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The illness can result in mild symptoms, severe illness or possibly death.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.