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Press Release: State Announces 6 New Presumptive Positive COVID-19 Cases

The Oregon Health Authority in Salem. | OREGON HEALTH AUTHORITY
March 15, 2020

Oregon now has a total of 36 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, after the Oregon Health Authority announced six new presumptive positive cases of the novel coronavirus as of 10:30 a.m. today.

OHA is reporting 3 new cases in Washington County, 2 new cases in Deschutes County, and 1 new case in Linn County. The Linn County case is at the Veterans’ Home in Lebanon. One of the Deschutes County cases traveled to a country where the virus is actively spreading. The remaining cases are believed to be community acquired. 

“With these latest test results, our concerns and efforts remain laser focused on our 9 honored veteran residents who are presumptive positive for COVID-19,” said Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “We are vigilantly working with Oregon Health Authority, Linn County Public Health and other partners to ensure all possible steps are being taken to help mitigate additional impact to our residents and staff. Our thoughts are with the affected veterans and all residents, as well as their families.”

“I know it’s difficult to learn that we are seeing more active community spread of COVID-19, but this is something we’ve been expecting,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed, health officer and state epidemiologist, OHA Public Health Division. “It’s a good reminder to take steps to protect yourself, and vulnerable friends and family members, by washing your hands, covering your coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you’re sick.”

Health officials continue to urge all Oregonians to take steps to protect those who are most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19. Those considered “high risk” include adults 60 and older, or anyone with a serious health condition, including lung or heart problems, kidney disease, or diabetes, or anyone who has a suppressed immune system.

People vulnerable to complications should follow federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to stay home as much as possible and avoid gatherings.

Every resident should take these basic steps to protect those most at risk:

Never visit a hospital or long-term-care facility if you have a fever or cough illness.

Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Stay home if you feel ill.

The COVID-19 virus spreads like the flu, when someone who is sick coughs or sneezes close to another person (close means about 6 feet). 

After someone contracts COVID-19, illness usually develops within 14 days. Symptoms mirror those of the flu, including fever, cough, runny nose, headache, sore throat and general feelings of illness. That has made it more difficult for health officials to identify sick individuals and stop the virus from spreading.