This page provides information about the coronavirus that is relevant to state employees and the enterprise of state government. The Oregon Health Authority remains the best source for information about coronavirus cases, prevention and outbreak response.
Source: Oregon Health Authority.
Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus strain that has only spread in people since December 2019. Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new virus. It has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people and there is not a treatment.
Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:
• The air by coughing and sneezing.
• Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
• Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Experts are still learning about the range of illness from novel coronavirus. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions.
People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus:
• Difficulty breathing
Call your healthcare provider to identify the safest way to receive care. Let them know if you have traveled to an affected area within the last 14 days.
Currently the risk to the general public is low. At this time, there are a small number of individual cases in the U.S. To minimize the risk of spread, health officials are working with healthcare providers to promptly identify and evaluate any suspected cases.
Travelers to and from certain areas of the world may be at increased risk. See wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel for the latest travel guidance from the CDC.
If you are traveling overseas (to China but also to other places) follow the CDC’s guidance: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
Right now, the novel coronavirus has not been spreading widely in the United States, so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public. Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent coronavirus:
• Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent novel coronavirus infections.
There are no medications specifically approved for coronavirus. Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some cases develop pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization.
Work arrangements, leave options and other HR issues
Like all Oregonians, state government employees are faced with challenges and uncertainty during this unprecedented public health crisis. To help employees understand their work and leave options in the time of coronavirus, the Chief Human Resources Office has compiled a list of frequently asked questions. Visit the complete FAQ
for helpful information.
State employees are encouraged to keep their eyes open for “phishing” attempts during the coronavirus outbreak. Bad actors take these moments of uncertainty as an opportunity to inundate employees of larger organizations with emails, text messages or even phone calls to gain access to computer networks and files.
Multiple IT news outlets are projecting that these “phishing” attempts are going to increase and may include false or fear-provoking messages about COVID-19 to get buy-in.
Enterprise Information Services encourages all employees to take their time on the most recent Information Security iLearn training (DAS – EIS – 2020 Information Security Training: Foundations) to be vigilant against “phishing” attempts and help maintain our cyber hygiene.
Employees should follow their agencies’ reporting process for suspected phishing emails, as well as forward any suspicious emails to ReportAPhish@oregon.gov
DAS is taking the following precautions to keep facilities as healthy as possible in light of the COVID 19 virus. DAS asks all employees to help in this effort by following all public health guidelines
around prevention and spread of the disease.
Deep cleaning equipment
DAS has ordered several electrostatic sprayer systems should the need arise for total building deep cleans. Schools and hospitals use these systems and each is capable of cleaning entire buildings in a few hours’ time.
Building wipe downs
DAS has brought on temporary employees to augment cleaning protocols by assisting custodial staff with systematic wipe downs of all high-contact touch points in the buildings (e.g., doors, hand rails, elevators, etc.). Custodial staff will work during the day and use a cleaner approved to kill the coronavirus. Custodial teams will rotate through all buildings in Portland, Salem, Eugene and Pendleton.
Daily fleet rental vehicles
DAS Fleet wipes down returned daily rental cars with a broad-spectrum solution so any vehicle employees rent comes sanitized as a matter of course. However, employees can help by ensuring their hands are washed before getting in state vehicles.
How employees can help
Washing your hands completely and vigilantly is one of the most effective actions you can take to keep yourself and others healthy. Please refer to the World Health Organization’s instructions for proper handwashing here
State employees can access many free services, including talking with a licensed, confidential counselor, through Oregon state government’s Employee Assistance Program, Cascade Centers
The federal government also offers the Disaster Distress Helpline
, 1-800-985-5990, a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
Public Employee' Benefit Board (PEBB) resource
If your life has been disrupted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, you are not alone. Through PEBB, you have access to programs, tools and resources to help you take on these uncertain and changing times.
Even if you are waiving or opting-out of PEBB insurance plans, many of these resources don’t require you to be enrolled.
You're encouraged to explore the new COVID-19 Resources
page on the PEBB website. PEBB has grouped all our partner resources in one place, so it’s easy for you see what’s available and get the help you may need.
You’ll find links to:
- Emotional health resources
- Physical health resources
- Free mobile apps
- Upcoming webinars, and
- Recordings of past webinars.
Public health experts at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and officials from state agencies have issued guidance and best practices for targeted groups concerning the novel coronavirus in Oregon.