COVID-19 Outbreak: Doubling Down on Safety for Older Oregonians
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
PORTLAND, Ore. -- As the threat from the novel coronavirus increases, health officials are underscoring safety measures for older Americans.
To keep crowds to a minimum, AARP Oregon has canceled all of its in-person events for the time being. State director Ruby Haughton-Pitts also advised people to take additional measures such as frequent hand-washing.
"It's been very stressful for a lot of folks, and the best thing that we can tell them is to follow instructions," Haughton-Pitts said. "The CDC is putting things out readily, and we are doing that as well."
While social distancing has become crucial, Haughton-Pitts said there needs to be some flexibility in nursing homes for visits from family members, and an assurance that staff will facilitate phone calls and video conferencing. She said she doesn't want social distancing to turn into social isolation.
While the tax season may seem inconsequential at the moment, it is weighing on some folks' minds as the normal tax-filing deadline approaches. Lawmakers in Congress are calling on the Internal Revenue Service to extend the deadline past April 15. Across the country, AARP has shut down its free tax aide program to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Haughton-Pitts said it was a necessary move.
"Their safety has to be our first priority," she said. "And we've asked that individuals who are older consider staying in and not doing social events."
Older folks and people with underlying medical conditions also are being advised to avoid unnecessary travel, especially vacation plans, and to consider having food delivered. Haughton-Pitts also suggested telemedicine appointments with doctors for nonessential or wellness checkups, if possible.
For the latest information on Covid-19 advisories, visit CDC.gov/coronavirus.
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