Fredrik Finney-Jordet/The Broadside
Even as the pandemic slows, COVID-19 continues to spread in Oregon and the world at large. As of October 15, there were 38,525 confirmed cases in the state. To address the uncertainty that comes with this pandemic, Central Oregon Community College has launched a COVID-19 dashboard to track confirmed cases among COCC staff and students.
COCC created the dashboard in accordance with Oregon Health Authority standards published in June, said the college’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Jenn Kovitz. The standards require institutions to “develop protocols for communicating immediately with students, faculty, staff, and community when students, faculty, or staff are diagnosed with new cases of COVID-19. The guidance also requires a description of how the institution is responding.”
COCC hopes to “clearly and honestly convey the state of the coronavirus outbreak,” said Kovitz. “We hope that this commitment to transparency will help reassure students, faculty, and staff that the College takes their health and safety seriously and that we will be honest if and when positive cases occur.” Regarding taking health seriously, the college asks students and staff to wear face masks, wash their hands frequently, maintain physical distancing, stay home when ill, and often visit the COVID-19 Health and Safety Information page for more information.
The dashboard is based entirely on self-reported diagnosis, and the college encourages students and staff to report if they have the disease. According to Kovitz, students who test positive for the coronavirus, or are instructed by health authorities to quarantine, should contact their instructors, who will then alert COCC’s designated point of contact with public health authorities.
Time will tell if the pandemic gets better or worse in Central Oregon. Until then, we can only use new tools like the dashboard to stay informed and mindful of the situation.