March 17, 2020
To all our fellow Oakdale residents,
With a case of COVID-19 now confirmed in Washington County, we want to assure everyone in our community that the City of Oakdale is closely monitoring the community health impacts of COVID-19 and collaborating with our partners at Washington County, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to implement measures in Oakdale that enhance our safety and slow the spread of this new and dangerous virus.
As we have all seen and heard, the news around COVID-19 changes rapidly. It is therefore important for all of us to be vigilant about our health and the health of those close to us and to seek assistance from our health care providers if COVID-19-like symptoms emerge.
We are told by public health officials that for the general public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 remains low. However, even if you have not been around anyone with COVID-19 or have not visited an ongoing outbreak area, because people can be transmitters of the virus without being symptomatic, everyone should continue to practice routine healthy hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other respiratory illnesses by washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds; covering coughs and sneezes; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home if sick. All of these practical actions greatly reduce the risk of contraction of coronavirus and contribute to keeping our community as healthy as possible and lessening the burden on our health care providers. By taking care of your personal health, you are also contributing greatly to the public health.
It is critically important during this pandemic that we use our healthcare resources wisely. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical healthcare needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever or other respiratory problems, please contact your regular doctor first before going to the emergency room unless it is an absolute health emergency.
The CDC has recommended that social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people should be avoided. Based on this advice, the City has decided to close City facilities to the public as a precaution intended to decrease the amount of social contact between people, which we are told will slow the spread of the virus. This includes both fire stations, Oakdale Public Works, and the Oakdale Discovery Center. Additionally, all events and recreation programming has been canceled through April 30, 2020.
City hall remains open during business hours, but residents are encouraged to utilize the drop box outside City Hall for utility payments, or online services when possible. These services include utility billing, building permits, and licensing. Utility payments may also be made by phone, 651-730-2716 or mail, City of Oakdale Utilities, 1584 Hadley Avenue N, Oakdale, MN 55128.
We encourage everyone to immediately have a family conversation about how you’ll handle logistics if one or more family members gets sick. How are you taking responsibility for hygiene, and what would you do in case of exposure? If you are employed, how is your employer handling leave and payroll questions related to COVID-19? Don’t forget about extended family in your health planning. Visit www.ready.gov for some tips to help you prepare for a variety of situations that could affect your family or work.
In closing, we would like to point out that there is a greatly important distinction between preparation and panic. We prepare for emergencies so that we do not panic during them and that is what we should all be doing in Oakdale. We are preparing as a community to deal with this attack on our health from an invisible enemy with continued up-to-the-minute education and commitment, working to protect the health of our residents. While there will undoubtedly be impact on some of our neighbors, family and friends before we are clear of the problems posed to our health by COVID-19, we are confident that Oakdale residents, working together, will emerge from this pandemic much stronger as a community.
To stay up-to-date with the City’s response to COVID-19, please sign up for text or email updates. Updates will also be posted on the City’s website, and social media pages.