IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – EVENT CANCELLED
As a member of both the State of Jefferson EMS Conference Planning Committee and the Southern Oregon EMS Community, I am disappointed to let you know that the 2020 conference planned for this week has been cancelled. This decision was not made lightly and comes after much discussion about the recent worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 infection.
In a report issued on Saturday, March 7, the Jackson County Public Health department announced that there is currently “no identified risk to the greater community in Jackson County and there is no known community spread of COVID-19 at this time”. That said, the conference has been cancelled as a precautionary measure.
On Saturday morning, several members of the Planning Committee conferenced by phone to discuss the announcement of four presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Southern Oregon and the potential impact on the conference. This group included Dr. Paul Rostykus (EMS Supervising Physician, ret.), Jackie DeSilva RN (Trauma Program Manager, Asante), Gary Heigel (Emergency Services Department Chair, RCC), and myself. The following factors influenced the decision to cancel the conference:
- Asante leadership has voiced concerns about mass gatherings and infection control;
- Persistent unknown information regarding contagiousness and virility of the COVID-19 virus, severity and community presence;
- CDC recommendations regarding social distancing, limitations of large gatherings, and groups of people in enclosed spaces; and
- The risks associated with exposing a large number of Oregon EMS providers (over 150 people), and the impact it could have on local and regional EMS staffing/response.
Meantime, Dr. Ed Racht, is still planning to visit Southern Oregon and has agreed to lead a video conference to provide additional insights about COVID-19. Mercy Flights is excited to host this presentation and make it available at no cost to EMS providers throughout the state via live streaming. Please stay tuned for details on how to participate in this video conference.
For those who have already registered and paid for the EMS conference, Mercy Flights will be processing refunds in the coming weeks. Please understand that this process will take some time.