The city of Hermiston is suspending certain activities at the public library as well as taking other actions in response to the increasing infection rate of COVID-19 or the coronavirus in Oregon.
The city also announced on Thursday that it will suspend shutting off utilities due to non-payment until further notice.
City officials said they are encouraging participation in directives issued by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Umatilla County Health Department.
In order to prevent the spread of the respiratory illness and protect the most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly and people with chronic health issues, the city has taken the following actions:
- The Hermiston Public Library has suspended classes and youth activities until further notice. The library will otherwise continue operating on regular business hours.
- People who are exhibiting cold and flu symptoms (coughing, fever, etc.) are asked to refrain from entering public facilities and may be asked to leave. City facilities will also increase cleaning protocols to ensure public areas and individual workspaces are disinfected.
- Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center and Hermiston Community Center staff are working with event coordinators to ensure gatherings are limited to fewer than 250 people in accordance with guidelines issued by the state of Oregon.
- If you have a Municipal Court hearing scheduled and are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have a compromised immune system, call 541-567-6610 to request a hearing by phone or rescheduled appearance. Potential jurors who are feeling sick or who are in higher risk categories should contact the court to reschedule their jury service.
- Parks and Recreation activities at schools are canceled until April 10.
- The Hermiston Senior Center has canceled all activities until April 10. Meals-on-Wheels will continue to be delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays before 10 a.m., and in-house meals are available by calling 541-567-3582 before 11 a.m.
- Kayak Public Transit has increased its bus-cleaning regimen on the Hermiston Area Regional Transit – Hermiston’s free bus service – including extensive daily sanitization. Hermiston Taxi Company, which contracts services for the city including elder transport to medical appointments, uses medical-grade disinfectants regularly throughout shifts, and has taken this opportunity to further review their cleaning protocols.
- The utilities department will discontinue non-payment shutoffs until further notice to ensure continued access to water and electricity for all residents. Bill payment and collection will continue as usual.
- Officials said the city will review these protocols and precautions as new information becomes available and will update its website accordingly.
Gov. Brown announced mitigation measures statewide on Thursday following the World Health Organization’s classification of COVID-19 as an international pandemic. The city encourages adherence to these directives for the next four weeks:
- Anyone who is ill should stay home until fever and symptoms are gone for at least 24 hours. People at high risk for severe illness should consult their health care provider about specific steps to decrease their potential exposure to the virus.
- Gatherings of more than 250 people are to be cancelled, especially in cases where participants can’t maintain a distance of at least three feet. Any events of more than 10 people in high-risk populations should also be cancelled.
- Social distancing in the workplace is recommended, maintaining three feet between people and staggering work shifts if possible. In-person meetings and non-essential travel should be limited. Employers are encouraged to establish flexible leave policies to allow staff to stay home due to school and childcare needs and allow employees to work from home when possible.
- Businesses are encouraged to display signs reminding people who are sick to stay home and encourage personal hygiene like handwashing, and increase their cleaning protocol for commonly touched surfaces like door handles and card readers. Restaurants should encourage take-out orders.
- Schools are expected to cancel or limit non-essential gatherings and activities, including field trips, competitions, concerts, plays and conferences. Childcare providers should also cancel trips and stagger meal and outdoor times to limit interaction.