COVID-19 Public Service Announcement 3

Release date: 03/27/2020
Sponsored by: Board of Commissioners

Why are there so many new coronavirus cases in Washington County?

Kathryn Harrington

In the third of a series of public service announcements produced by Tualatin Valley Community Television, Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington explains a theory behind why Washington County may have the highest number of new coronavirus cases in Oregon.

The video update can be found on the Washington County YouTube channel

“Washington County had the first case in Oregon, which we learned about on February 28. This means the virus had likely been spreading in our community before detection, so it stands to reason we’d have more cases,” Harrington explains in the video. “Another reason is that we have been vigilant to quickly identify close contacts to known cases, put them under monitoring, and then test at the first sign of illness. This results in more positive tests.”

The Washington County Board of Commissioners first declared an emergency regarding the new coronavirus on March 4 and has renewed the declaration since that time. The county’s Public Health Division has been working from the beginning of the outbreak to identify possible contacts, monitor and test those potentially exposed and to education the public about how to slow the spread of this new virus, which is now widely dispersed in throughout the community.

The county’s emergency operations center (EOC) also activated at the beginning of the month to support public health operations and to coordinate the multi-agency response to the outbreak. Over 100 staff plus community partners have been working in the EOC since that time, using appropriate social distancing. County staff continues to collaborate with community partners and other jurisdictions to collectively slow the spread of this new disease.   

The public is reminded to follow Governor Kate Brown’s statewide “Stay Home, Save Lives” order and take simple steps everyone can take to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands well and often; 
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue; 
  • Stay home unless traveling to get food, medicine or other necessary items, or if our job is considered critical and must be done in-person;
  • Cancel any gatherings, conferences or non-essential meetings; 
  • Avoiding social and other gatherings; and
  • Increase the physical space between each other in workplaces and other settings as appropriate.

Health officials also ask that the public stay informed and educated through trustworthy sources of information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Oregon Health Authority and Washington County Public Health Division

General questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 2-1-1. Questions about your specific medical needs should be directed to your health care provider.

Media Contacts:

Philip Bransford, County Administrative Office Communications Officer, 503-846-8685 

Wendy Gordon, Health and Human Services Department Communications Coordinator/PIO