My name is Sue Sierralupe. I have been living in George Brown’s ward for over 20 years. I am also the clinic manager for Occupy Medical. Last time I was here, I gave a brief update on life in the clinic. We were having a brief lull in our patient load. This Sunday, our numbers increased by about 20%. We are seeing more children, particularly infants.
Last time I was here, I mentioned an enterovirus (EV D68) that was still a few states away and was causing serious problems for children and patients with asthma. Here I am 2 weeks later and this virus, for which we have no vaccine, has confirmed cases in CA, ID and WA. Believe me when I say that Oregon will be next. Since asthma rates for children in Eugene averages over 10% according to the 2013 study from OSU, citizens have every right to be concerned.
Our clinic serves a segment of the population that is often ignored. Health issues become more grave and harder to control the longer they are ignored. Many of our people lack the basics for good health. They don’t have good food, they don’t have heat, most of the time, they don’t even have dry socks. They are extremely vulnerable.
We are soliciting donations for respiratory infection control kits to be passed out at the clinic. These kits will include: masks, cough medicine, tissues, vitamins, herbal supplements, hand sanitizer, soap and information on disease control. We are reminding people to wash their hands properly, disinfect all surfaces and stay away from those that are ill. Although there are a few bumps to iron out on the Paid Sick Day ordinance here in Eugene, this is one of the changes that will make a difference for public health and I applaud you for endorsing it.
Our population is growing. We have more people collected in denser spaces, facing uncertain economic times and struggling to survive on less. One way you can help us is to open another rest stop for the unhoused so that people can maintain and recover from illnesses. Please remember that a roof is good medicine.
EV D68 is not the only disease that we will be battling this winter. It behooves us all as a community to build a climate in which all citizens can maintain good health: children and the elderly, women and men, housed and unhoused, rich and poor. If we work together wisely, we can make it through another winter and be better for it. Thank you for your continued support.