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Respiratory infections surging in Clatsop County

Community news | Thursday, December 8, 2022

Contact: Sarah Bello

Residents urged to take action now

Increased respiratory virus cases has pushed two Clatsop County hospitals’ bed capacities close to or beyond the edge in recent days.

Columbia Memorial Hospital, Providence Seaside Hospital and Clatsop County Department of Public Health are concerned about the local health care system for the rising demands.

They are calling for our communities’ help to reduce surging infections and reduce the strain on health care providers and protect our local hospital capacities.

Residents are being urged to:

  1. Get your flu vaccine and COVID booster. There is no vaccine for RSV.
  2. Stay home when you are sick.
  3. Stay away from people who are sick.
  4. Step up your respiratory hygiene. That means cover your coughs and sneezes, clean high-touch surfaces, and wash hands frequently.
  5. Wear a mask in crowded indoor settings, when you are with people who are outside your household, especially those at increased risk of severe illness.

Dr. Christopher Strear, chief medical officer of Columbia Memorial Hospital, reminds residents that, “Unless symptoms are severe or quickly getting worse, contact a health care provider or pediatrician before going to an emergency room. If you do not have a health care provider, call 211 for help finding one.”

Three respiratory viruses are in our communities

As the outside temperature goes down, viruses increase their activities and people stay indoors more. These factors lead to an increasing number of people becoming sick. At least three respiratory viruses are now circulating in Clatsop County. They are RSV, influenza (FLU) and COVID-19.

RSV is a virus causing respiratory infection. It is mostly mild but can be severe among older adults, people with underlying medical conditions and children under 2 years old— especially infants under 6 months.

If your child is sick:

  • If symptoms are mild, keep your child home.
  • Use over-the-counter medicine to manage fever and pain, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to children.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Contact a health care provider or pediatrician before going to an emergency room.

Getting your vaccine

  • Call Clatsop County Department of Public Health at 503-325-8500 to make your appointment. In most cases same-day appointments are available
  • Providence Seaside Clinic has flu vaccines for established patients. Call your primary care provider at 503-717-7000 to make an appointment.
  • Local pharmacies have flu vaccines available. Check to see if they are taking walk-ins.
  • The high dose flu vaccine is available at Columbia Memorial Hospital’s outpatient pharmacy and the Providence Seaside Clinic. The high dose flu vaccine is only recommended for those 65 and older and can provide additional protection.