Message from the Director of the Oregon Department of Education and Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction – Colt Gill
While the spread of novel coronavirus is troubling, we must remind ourselves that fear, rumors, and stigma do nothing to stop the further spread of the disease. Facts and science, proven public health measures and common-sense precautions in our personal lives are the best measures we can take to protect the people we serve.
The best source of information is the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Their site also has links to the CDC and other resources.
What is COVID-19 and where did it come from?
COVID-19 is an infection caused by a new coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a range of symptoms. Some usually cause mild illness. Some, like this one, can also cause more severe symptoms.
You may also know COVID-19 as:
- 2019 novel coronavirus,
- 2019-nCoV, or
Those who study COVID-19 think that the virus that causes it originated in bats.
Two earlier coronavirus outbreaks appear to have started from viruses in a host animal. For SARS, it was the masked palm civet. For MERS, it was dromedary camels.
What are the symptoms?
COVID-19 infection often causes fever, cough, and some trouble breathing. Some people have mild symptoms. Other people can get quite sick. Rarely, people die.
How is it spread?
COVID-19 is spread when people touch or breathe in droplets made when ill people cough, sneeze or talk. This can happen when someone is close to a sick person, within six feet. Rarely, people might catch COVID-19 by touching a surface that a person with the infection coughed or sneezed on, and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. Coronaviruses can’t survive for long on surfaces, though, so this isn’t common.
How can I keep myself from getting sick with COVID-19?
Should I wear a mask to protect myself?
There is little evidence that masks limit exposure or decrease risk of illness when used in the public setting. They might lead to a false sense of security and make people less likely to take other, more effective measures to decrease risk of infection.
Masks do appear to be useful when they are worn by people who are ill to limit the spread of virus when the ill person coughs or sneezes.
Learn more from CDC:
Should my child stay home?
Should my child be tested?
What should I know about COVID-19 Testing?