Photo of Ted CaseThere are countless differing perspectives about the coronavirus epidemic, but hopefully we all agree the loss of life is tragic, wherever it occurs.

We are learning the extended electric co-op family is not immune to the pandemic. Last month, a sibling of an Oregon electric co-op director died of COVID-19—one of, at this writing, 140,157 Americans who have lost their life to this infection.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the grim statistics—the number of tests, infections, and deaths—that we lose sight of the true human toll from this pandemic.

The number of COVID-19 cases is increasing, and there is a sense the infection is spiraling out of control. Many of us are wondering what school will look like in the fall, including the scores of co-op employees in the state who have school-aged children. The question remains: How do we protect ourselves and those around us? There seem to be few answers.

Electric co-ops are trying to do their part. Almost every conversation I have with co-op leaders involves their commitment to the safety of their employees and their consumers. I hear as much about plexiglass for their offices as I do about power supply. Every possible measure is being considered. No matter what we thought at the beginning, there is no rural-urban divide when it comes to COVID-19.

A virus once ravaging a distant New York metropolis has now shifted to small, quiet places much closer to home. It’s a lesson rural Oregonians—and our electric co-op family— have learned in the most heartbreaking way.

Ted Case
Executive Director