Responding to the Evolving COVID-19 March 19, 2020

The national response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to evolve as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) learns more about the virus, how it spreads, and what control tactics seem to have the best results. Uncontrolled, it is believed that the explosion of COVID-19 cases would quickly overwhelm our health care systems and exhaust the on-hand resources.

Just in the past few days, the State of Oregon has implemented CDC recommendations to slow the spread of the disease. These strategies include promoting social distancing through school closures, limiting public assembly to no more than 25 persons (less than 10 is recommended), and banning on-site consumption of food or beverages at restaurants or bars. These restrictions will be in place for at least the next 30 days, but likely longer.

In an effort to comply with these mandates and protect the residents of our area, the City of Coos Bay has also had to make some adjustments to the way that we operate.

  • City meeting and assembly venues are now closed and nearly all public meetings are postponed or canceled. The City is considering alternatives for essential meetings such as video or phone conferencing.
  • The Library is closed to the public, but patrons can still check out materials by calling the library and arranging for pickup. The dropbox is open and fines for overdue materials are temporarily suspended.
  • Public Works staff are still available by phone and/or email to talk with developers, contractors, and the public, but are limiting face-to-face personal contact.
  • Firefighters and Paramedics will be asking patients more questions about their symptoms in an effort to determine the best level of protection needed. Remember to only call 9-1-1 for emergencies as responders expect to be busier than normal.
  • Police Officers will be modifying their response to some calls. Emergency response to crimes in progress or those of serious nature will be handled in a normal fashion, but they will handle non-priority calls by phone whenever possible.

These temporary measures may seem drastic or inconvenient to many, but the goal is to protect public health. The reality for us is that our lifestyle and social norms will be impacted until COVID-19 runs its course or a vaccine is developed and distributed. We are a resilient community and, while City services may look a bit different for a while, these changes are temporary and we can anticipate a return to normal operation in a reasonable time.