During Oregon’s wildfires and safety evacuations, it is important to take precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19, particularly for those in isolation or quarantine due to a positive diagnosis or exposure to the virus.
The first priority in wildfire situations is responding to the evacuation and safety instructions of local and state fire officials — and heeding their warnings. Regardless of disease status, if you are asked or ordered to evacuate, you should do so.
If you or a household member are quarantining or isolating to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please take the following precautions:
- If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately. Follow all instructions from fire officials.
- If you have time, reach out to your local public health authority, who should have already been in contact with you about your isolation/quarantine. They may have solutions to help you continue to isolate/quarantine if you are evacuated.
- Should you be directed to a shelter or other evacuation space, please let officials know you are in isolation/quarantine so that they can take steps to keep you distanced from other evacuees.
- Wear a mask at all times when outside your home, or if you may come into contact with people who do not live with you.
- If you are an older adult or a person with disabilities, reach out to the Aging and Disabilities Resource Connection for information about resources 1-855-ORE-ADRC (1-855-673-2372).
- Practice physical distancing to the greatest extent possible, if you must travel outside your home for any reason, including evacuation.
- More information about wildfire safety and your health is available on the OHA Wildfires and Smoke page.
- Additional resources can be found by calling 2-1-1.
Emergency managers, shelter managers and public health professionals are taking measures to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19 among people who are seeking safety in a disaster shelter during the Oregon wildfires.
Here are some tips to help you prepare and lower the risk of infection while staying safe in a shelter.
Protect yourself and others while in a public shelter
- Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet from other people outside of your household.
- Wearing face masks/coverings. Follow shelter’s guidance and policies related to their use within shared spaces.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol immediately after you touch these surfaces.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Avoid sharing food and drink with anyone.
- Follow disaster shelter policies and procedures designed to protect everyone in the shelter, especially those who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
- Avoid touching high-touch surfaces, such as handrails, as much as possible.
- Keep your living area in the shelter clean and disinfect frequently-touched items such as toys, cellphones, and other electronics.