The North Bend Eagle


COVID-19 making changes to North Bend life

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 3/18/20

As of Monday [March 16, 2020] night, North Bend was still free of any reported coronavirus cases, but the epidemic is still making an impact on daily life.

The new coronavirus, named COVID-19, has spread to the point that it was declared a worldwide pandemic on March 11.

If symptomatic, call, don't visit doctor

Three Rivers Health Department and North Bend Emergency Manager Waylon Fischer have both released statements with advice on locally dealing with COVID-19 virus.

If you feel symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing, do not go to your doctor or the emergency room, both sources say.

Instead, call your doctor or the Methodist Health Systems coronavirus hotline at 402-815-7425 for instructions. Your primary care physician will call the local health department to determine if testing is needed.

Fischer encourages everyone to reduce their exposure by conducting as much business as possible over the phone or through e-mail or video. He also suggests having a two-week supply of food and supplies on hand.

Fischer said to watch the North Bend Fire Department Facebook page or the North Bend Eagle Twitter and social media feeds for timely updates as the situation evolves.

COVID-19 is an acronym for coronavirus disease 2019. Coronavirus is a family of viruses that are responsible for the common cold, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and the new COVID-19, a virus that first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

One of the first cases in Nebraska was a women participating in a Special Olympic basketball tournament in Fremont. Doug Zelazny of North Bend also participated in that tournament. He and his parents, Jerry and Kathy Zelazny, self-isolated.

“We didn’t know anything the first week after the Feb. 29 tournament,” Kathy Zelazny said. “Cory Piercy, the coach for Fremont Special Olympics, called us March 7 and said he was told by the public health department to tell us to isolate ourselves.”

The Zelazny family has kept close to home this past week. Kathy said she got a lot of deep cleaning done. Doug and Jerry have been outside some, raking leaves and cleaning the garage. The one time Doug, 49, was upset was when they could not go to church Saturday night, a break in their routine.
Kathy does not think Doug was ever close to the women diagnosed with COVID.

“If he was with her it would have been in the Parade of Athletes held at the beginning. Otherwise, they were never in the same room.”

Kathy did say she had a pretty good stock of food, but Julie Kelberlau, Caryn Moser and Ann Minarick have brought them milk and fresh produce.

The Zelaznys have remained healthy and finished their isolation March 14.

NBC Closed

On Sunday, North Bend Central followed advice from Three Rivers Health Department and cancelled classes for at least the next two weeks.

The tentative plans were to have students being classes and studies online on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get our heads together and work hard to give 600 kids the best education we possible can under the circumstances at hand,” Endorf said. “We have a great staff, they have excellent technological skill. We’ve invested a lot of time, money and professional development in technology over the last few years. I’m confident we can roll out an educational plan for home in a fashion we could never have dreamed of doing five years ago. So that part, a great challenge, excites me.”

Endorf also thinks from listening to those in the know that it’s going to be more than a two-week endeavor.

On March 13 high school and middle school students were told to take their devices, books and belongings home. As of Monday, they are still making plans to get grades Pre-K through five online. When the Center for Disease Control changed its public gathering limit from 50 to 10 people Monday, it threw a wrench into the school’s plan on how to disperse iPads to elementary students. Those plans were still being formulated as of Monday.

The school has a platform called Canvas that they use a lot in the upper grades but there are some pieces of technology that can used for our youngest learners.

“Some of it requires assistance from the parent, but we’ll do our best to see that we meet the needs of all of our students,” Endorf said.

He said grading and assessment is on hold for now and will focus on giving students an educational experience.

“This is unprecedented in our world and education,” Endorf said. “I’m really proud of how our staff has reacted. I know our students and families want normalcy, they want structure, they want us to do something. Here on Monday afternoon, we are a couple days away from being able to provide an educational avenue they so desperately want and need.”

Senior Center open

The North Bend Senior Center continues to serve meals at noon weekdays. Manager Sherry Raymond said that other senior centers have been closed, but because Raymond cooks the food and it is not delivered already cooked, she was given the option to stay open.

“Our numbers are down because of the weather,” Raymond said. “People are real good about staying home if they don’t feel good. They call and tell us.”

Raymond said even without people there to eat, she will come in because she has home meals to deliver. She said so far, people are still coming in to play dominos or cards.

Raymond did say the center is in need of hand sanitizer. If someone has some to donate, she would appreciate it.


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