Oregon police tell citizens to stop calling 911 'just because you ran out of toilet paper'

WATCH: Shoppers in London were faced with empty and sparse shelves as the spread of COVID-19 sparked panic buying of supplies in the English capital of London on Saturday.

No, a lack of toilet paper during the novel coronavirus outbreak is not a police matter.

A police department in Oregon has had to remind local residents that toilet paper scarcity doesn’t warrant an emergency call.

Officials of the Newport Oregon Police Department took to Facebook to share the not-so-surprising news.

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“It’s hard to believe that we even have to post this,” they wrote. “Do not call 9-1-1 just because you ran out of toilet paper. You will survive without our assistance.”

They even went so far as to suggest alternative materials to take the place of toilet paper, if in dire need of something to wipe with.

It’s hard to believe that we even have to post this. Do not call 9-1-1 just because you ran out of toilet paper. You…

Posted by Newport Oregon Police Department on Saturday, March 14, 2020

“History offers many other options for you in your time of need if you cannot find a roll of your favourite soft, ultra-plush two-ply citrus-scented tissue,” the message continued. “Seamen used old rope and anchor lines soaked in salt water. Ancient Romans used a sea sponge on a stick, also soaked in seawater.”

The message continued on with other historical suggestions, like the Mayans who used corn cobs and other alternatives, like pages of Sears catalogues or grocery receipts and cloth rags.

“Be resourceful. Be patient. There is a TP shortage,” they continued. “This too shall pass. Just don’t call 9-1-1. We cannot bring you toilet paper.”

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Whoever is running the department’s official Facebook has their sense of humour on display, responding to some of the thousands of comments underneath the comedic post.

One person suggested that people use old socks, but the department chimed in: “We don’t recommend solo socks. They can live again as cool sock puppets.”

Another added that the sewer system is going to get plugged with some of the suggestions, but the department responded: “We hope lessons in what and what not to flush is beyond our scope of duties.”

People rushed to stores to panic-buy and hoard essentials, like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but experts have said it isn’t necessary.

While panic is a “very human” response, Steven Hoffman, director of the Global Strategy Lab, previously told Global News it’s neither helpful nor proportionate to the current risk level.

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Although Health Canada has recommended people build emergency kits — including items like water, non-perishable foods and prescription medication — they’ve also said stockpiling essentials in bulk isn’t necessary right now.

“It is easier on the supply chain if people gradually build up their household stores instead of making large-scale purchases all at once,” reads the site. “To do this, you can add a few extra items to your grocery cart every time you shop.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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