Wallowa Memorial Hospital (WMH) collaborated with the Wallowa County Commissioners and Wallowa County Sheriff today to produce and post an 8-minute Public Service Announcement video summarizing the current state of COVID-19 preparations in Wallowa County. The video features Hospital nursing and emergency prep coordinator Stacey Karvoski, Commission chairman John Hillock, and Sheriff Steve Rogers.

In the video, Karvoski notes that WMH began preparation and planning for COVID-19 in February, and that their Incident Command team meets twice daily for updates on coronavirus developments statewide as well as nationally and globally. They have a plan for meeting demands on care that may be imposed if there is a surge in COVID-19 cases, and presently have an adequate supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To date, the hospital has administered 18 COVID-19 tests. 15 have been negative (No COVID-19). Three remaining have not yet been returned. The hospital is screening all visitors for temperature and self-reported illness. (Chieftain note: The single COVID-19 case reported by Oregon Health Authority as a Wallowa County case is actually a person who is now living and working in Union County but has not changed the address on their driver’s license.)

Commissioner Hillock said that helpful information about financial support for businesses during the COVID-19 financial storm is available on the websites of Rep. Greg Walden, and Senators Wyden and Merkley. He also urged small businesses to contact the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce for more opportunities for aid.

Hillock recognized Senior Meals on Wheels and Community Connection for delivering food and company to homebound adults, as well as the schools for delivering breakfast and lunches to students. He noted that this week, supplies that Emergency Coordinator Paul Karvoski requested through new Trump Administration releases of medical PPE will arrive at WMH (Wallowa County, like other rural counties in eastern Oregon, will receive one N51 mask, one gown and a few other things, Hillock noted off camera.) Hillock also expects the National Guard will deliver additional medical supplies from federal stockpiles next week.

Sheriff Rogers said that at this time the department is doing criminal fingerprints only and is not processing applications of renewals for concealed handgun permits. Where there is a criminal case involving a concealed carry, no action will be taken until June. He also emphasized that law enforcement in the county is assisting in keeping the hospital and clinics safe and that officers are available and happy to do welfare checks on relatives and loved ones.

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