A Note from Damon Armitage, MD

Medical Director, Camas Swale Medical Clinic

Over the last couple of weeks, Coronavirus has caused a significant public health effort to be put in place, which has affected all members of our community. For some, this has resulted in minor inconveniences, such as not being able to find paper products at the store or standing in long lines. In other cases, there has been a substantial impact on lifestyle with businesses closed temporarily, or operations drastically altered for social distancing. For those of us with children in school, it has meant family dynamic planning as well. As with any unknown, there is a substantial amount of apprehension about the health, social, and economic impact of the new restrictions in place and the virus that led to these changes.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly contagious virus belonging to a family of viruses responsible for a variety of (usually mild) respiratory illness (like a bad cold). Believed to spread primarily by respiratory droplets, it cannot survive on hard surfaces outside a living host for more than a few hours. Those most at risk are patients with already weakened immune systems (elderly, very young, immune-compromised, asthma or other existing lung disease, smokers, occupational lung disease). The seemingly drastic social measures in place are primarily to protect these members of society and their families. Because it spreads quickly, if everybody got it at the same time the pressure could overwhelm the capability of our health care system to absorb this surge.

At Camas Swale Medical Clinic, we are dedicated to the health and safety of our patients and the community. We will continue to see patients and will update our practices in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidelines. As Medical Director, I have 18 years of experience in expeditionary medicine and contingency medicine planning with the Air Force and Oregon Air National Guard. If you have an appointment, you can expect that additional measures may be in place at the clinic to minimize potential exposure. We may also be offering telemedicine as an alternative for select patients using videoconferencing or phone if necessary.

Change increases stress, and the stress we may be feeling due to mounting social, financial, and family pressures can lead to panic. We recommend using this time with family in small groups to build resilience and strength, and follow the recommended plan for social distancing. We also recommend going to official guidance sources for updates at the national, state, and county level including:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

OHA: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/pages/index.aspx

Lane County Public Health Non-Emergency COVID-19 Information Line: (541) 682-1380