Positive COVID-19 case counts have doubled in the last two days. Tuesday had 23 cases reported, yesterday had 30, and today we are already at 45 cases. These are just confirmed lab reports or those who have reported their positive at-home test results to public health. Also, today there are two people in local hospitals with COVID-19. This breaks a 10-day streak of no cases in local hospitals.

This surge is likely due to recent holiday gatherings and the arrival of the highly contagious Omicron variant. As we head into the new year, Lincoln County Public Health cautions people to reconsider large gatherings. If you must be in a group, you can increase your protection by wearing a well-fitted mask, physical distancing, increasing ventilation, and careful handwashing. Find more guidance on how to stay safe, visit Safe & Strong Oregon here.

There are still people who cannot get vaccinated due to age or medical reasons, and those who are immunocompromised have reduced protection against illness. The community can help project these vulnerable people by taking their own protective measures.

The best protection against severe disease and death from the latest COVID-19 variant is to be up to date on your vaccinations. A chart describing what “up to date” means is at the end of this news release.

Prevention of disease is a layered approach, so every action can help reduce your risk of illness. Wear a well-fitting mask in public when you are around people. Consider upgrading the level of your mask protection. Stay at least 3 feet from those who do not live with you. Increase cleaning in your environment and washing your hands. Refrain from touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. Improve ventilation, for example open windows or gather outside.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19

If you took an at-home test, let public health know by calling 541-265-0621 or by submitting your information on this form.

Isolate (this means staying away from household members and pets). Contact public health at the number above if you need help isolating or have questions about how long to stay home.

Once you leave isolation, wear a well-fitted mask everywhere for 5 more days. You can return to work during this time period.

Close contacts of confirmed and presumptive cases who are not up to date with their ACIP-recommended COVID-19 vaccinations should quarantine for the five days following exposure and remain masked when around others for an additional five days. Note: if you cannot quarantine, you must wear a mask around other people for the 10 days following your last exposure.

Close contacts who are up to date with their ACIP-recommended COVID-19 vaccinations do not need to quarantine but must wear a mask around others for 10 days following their exposure.

All close contacts, regardless of vaccination status, should be encouraged to test five days after their exposure. If any close contacts develop symptoms, they should get a test and stay home.

There are treatments for COVID-19. Contact your healthcare provider to see what treatments are available for you. Learn more about treatments here.

If you have any questions, please visit our website at www.co.lincoln.or.us/COVID or contact our call center at 541-265-0621 or email LincolnCoCallCenter@co.lincoln.or.us .

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