VIRTUAL CARE FOR MEASLES

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - As the measles outbreak continues, FOX 12 did some digging into the cost of the outbreak for state and local agencies.

Although the first case was confirmed on Jan. 4, about two months ago, Clark County Public Health activated its incident command on Jan. 15 which is when it began paying for this outbreak.

According to public health officials at last check, the agency has spent $615,800 investigating and controlling the spread of measles.

The agency's told FOX 12 its annual fund balance policy includes $400,000 for emergency incident response.

But, it has exceeded that total and will now need to pull money from other funds to pay for the emergency response.

In addition to the more than half a million dollars the county has spent the Washington Department of Health said it has contributed $752,000 to managing the outbreak.

DOH officials said the bulk of that money has been used to cover labor expenses.

They said, the agency does not have an emergency fund set aside specifically for outbreaks, but the CDC is helping with some of the costs.

Officials said the number of confirmed cases is up to 70 with two suspected cases.

There is also one new measles exposure site, Peace Health Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver.

That just highlights the importance of calling your provider before visiting the clinic, if you suspect you or a family member may have the measles, so you don't expose others.

On Tuesday, FOX 12 spoke with the father of a five-year-old who said he was concerned his son might have the measles.

But instead of taking him to the ER, He used OHSU's virtual urgent care service.

"My son has a rash on his chest and on some of his arms. So, we were worried maybe it was measles,” Father Michael Hurst said. "So, we did a video conference. I held the phone up, so the nurse could see Henry's, my son's chest and rash. They very quickly determined it was not measles."

Although it turned out to be a false alarm, officials at OHSU praised the Hurst family for how it handled the scary situation and recommends others do the same.

Virtual doctor visits are becoming common and many clinics or even insurance companies offer these services.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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