By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Information flowing, but facts are hidden

One great dichotomy with COVID-19 crisis is information overload combined with lack of facts.

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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We have workplace and school closures, business shutdowns and growing waves of unemployment. Financial emergencies overlay the medical crisis. A confusing and sometimes contradictory information waterfall is flowing from businesses, organizations and governments.

But something is missing: important, consistent facts.

For too long, national facts were misrepresented; for too much longer, local facts are being hidden.

COVID-19 testing capacity has been woefully inadequate, but hospitals and health agencies refuse to reveal the status of their testing capabilities. National reports claim hospitals will be overwhelmed by shortages of beds, respirators and health care providers, but locally, requests for facts related to those warnings have been rebuffed.

We know; we’ve asked.

Perhaps it’s a strategy to avoid panic. Hopefully, it isn’t well-meaning platitudes when Willamette Valley Medical Center tells us:

“While we don’t have specific information to share regarding our equipment, facility set-up, or patient capacity, we want to reassure our communities that it is safe to come to our hospital should they need care. We are confident in our ability to evaluate, manage, and treat patients who may have COVID-19.”

Yamhill County Health and Human Services will report the number of confirmed COVID-19 in Yamhill County, but there’s an absolute lid on age, gender and workplace location.

However, YCHHS Director Lindsay Manfrin has evolved. Three weeks ago she said, “We have plans in place for any sort of pandemic.” This week she told county commissioners her department “already ceased many of our day-to-day public health operations” while shifting staff from health agencies to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Here is our response to the secrecy: Tell us your story!

Tell us your story about impacts of COVID-19 on your life. Tell us your story about direct contacts with the health care system. Tell us your story about the facts you encounter along the way. And also, tell us your stories about kindnesses and good deeds by others.

Tell us some facts, and some stories, that we can pass along to the community — with or without invading your personal privacy.

We are working on a simple online portal for you to tell us those stories — watch for information in our newspaper and on our website, www.newsregister.com. Meanwhile, you can send them to me at jbladine@newsregister.com.

The community is stronger if we can share actual facts and real stories.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

Don Dix

Jeb -- the sheriff's office is also not 'privy' to any 'extra info' on the details -- it seems that those that have that knowledge also feel they know what's best for us -- sound familiar?

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