Health

Oregon Health Organizations Prepare For Coronavirus

By Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB)
Jan. 31, 2020 10:17 p.m. Updated: Jan. 31, 2020 11:50 p.m.

Oregon hospitals and clinics are preparing for a possible outbreak of the coronavirus.

Dr. David Hotchkin with the Oregon Clinic in Northeast Portland said they're taking precautions similar to the flu.

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"We’re asking individuals whether or not they’ve traveled to China and, if they have, to make sure that they’re contacting the public health department to get information about what to do," Hotchkin said.

"We’re asking people that have cough or fever to not come into our visits, to make sure to let us know," he said.

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Dr. Hotchkin said that right now, if someone is worried about getting sick they should be most concerned about the flu.

“Flu has affected 15 million individuals in the U.S. and we’ve had over 8,500 deaths, this year alone," Hotchkin said.

Kristian Foden-Vencil / OPB

Washington state has declared a level 1 response in the wake of a coronavirus case there. The state declaration means officials have activated an emergency operations center located at Camp Murray.

Little is known about the new coronavirus. But authorities think it may be a little more infectious than the flu with a slightly higher fatality rate. But they point out the fatality rate is probably less than 3%, which is less than SARS.

Experts estimate it would take about a year to develop a vaccine for the new virus.

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