KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) officials report three new cases of COVID-19 in the community, bringing the local count to 246.

This week’s count is three.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality extended its air quality advisory through Thursday. Local air quality will fluctuate between hazardous and unhealthy. Some symptoms, like dry cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing can be caused by both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19.

At least 10% of statewide emergency department visits since last Thursday were due to asthma-like symptoms.

“Individuals should not assume that symptoms are merely smoke related,” said KCPH Director Jennifer Little. “Anyone who does not feel well should stay home to prevent potential spread of COVID-19.

“At this time, we are encouraging everyone to stay indoors as much as possible, which contradicts the previous recommendations to spend time outside to reduce the spread of COVID,” Little continued. “These are difficult times, and we are asking everyone to remain vigilant in reducing the risk of COVID-19 exposure. “

For those who are feeling anxious or depressed, with the compounding traumas of wildfires, smoke and COVID-19, Little recommends touching base with behavioral health resources, such as Klamath Basin Behavioral Health and The Klamath Tribes Youth and Family Guidance Center.

Information specific to Klamath County can be found at https://www.klamathcounty.org/1076/Klamath-County-data.

To protect yourself:

  • Keep your distance by maintaining six feet of social or physical distancing between yourself and others.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, utilizing hand sanitizer when washing facilities are not available.
  • Sanitize surfaces that are often touched.
  • Avoid gatherings of any size where social or physical distancing is not possible.

To protect others around you:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Wear a clean mask in public spaces, including outdoors when six feet of social distance cannot be maintained.