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Wendy Rudy, president of the Central Oregon Veterans Council, has released the following information for veteran members and supporters:
The Central Oregon Veterans Council board is working to ensure that our veterans do not fall between the cracks during these times of uncertainty. We are consistently monitoring COVID-19 and are in constant communication with VA Portland Healthcare System, St. Charles Health System, DAV, Behavioral Health Programs and Central Oregon Veterans Outreach. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers COVID-19 to be a serious public health threat, but individual risk is dependent upon exposure.
The number one thing to remember is to remain calm and protect yourself by:
∙ Washing your hands often and/or using hand sanitizer of at least 60 percent alcohol.
∙ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
∙ Avoid people who are sick
∙ Limit contact with others if you are at high risk
∙ Stay home and away from others when sick
∙ Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues or your arm/sleeve and dispose of tissues in the trash
∙ Keep surfaces clean using disinfecting wipes
We know that those at greatest risk are people over the age of 65 and those who are immunosuppressed. Our veterans are resilient and often resourceful; however, we must be vigilant in protecting them by identifying those at greatest risk:
∙ Single veterans over the age of 60 who are living alone
∙ Veterans with known medical conditions (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.)
∙ Veterans in isolated areas without family
∙ Veterans caring for a spouse with health conditions
∙ Veterans with TBI, PTSD or other behavioral health conditions
We have begun to create a volunteer list to cover all areas of Central Oregon, with people who can help us provide check-ins, run errands, pick-up and deliver medications/groceries, potentially provide transportation to medically necessary appointments or to simply offer friendship via the phone, Skype or other means.
If you are interested in volunteering or you know of a veteran who meets the above criteria, please contact Wendy Rudy or Adam Williams at Centraloregonveteranscouncil@gmail.com. We will be creating a spreadsheet with names, phone numbers and addresses of volunteers and at-risk veterans.
Additionally, we will be collecting and putting together mini-emergency kits that will include non-perishable food items, soap/hand-sanitizers, toilet paper, water and emergency contact lists.
We have a PayPal account that will make it easier for people to donate. Our PayPal account is: CentralOregonVeteransCouncil@gmail.com and any donations will be used to support veterans in crisis, especially aging veterans and the vulnerable population. We will also work closely with COVO to try to keep their food bank full and identify other needs or available resources as they arise.
We are working as a team to identify and provide pertinent community education through Zoom or other social media venues. We hope this will help alleviate some fears and reduce anxiety over being isolated.
We will remain vigilant and suggest others do the same. It is imperative we identify those at risk and keep the lines of communication open.