The Oregon Health Authority announced on Wednesday Linn County’s first two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19. The new cases, involving two males over the age of 80, brings Oregon’s total to 21 total cases in eight counties.
Like the cases in Polk, Marion and Deschutes, the Linn County cases had no known close contacts with confirmed cases, so they are considered community-spread.
An Infection Control and Specimen Collection Strike Team will deploy to Linn County. The team will assess and work with the facility to assess infection control. The team will collect specimen samples for COVID-19 testing from all residents and care providers.
Upon initial evaluation, residents with symptoms were initially tested for flu, and respiratory illness. As an extra precaution, that facility had previously switched its ventilation system to circulating 100% outside air to mitigate the potential spread of infectious disease. the residents continued to receive appropriate medical care and were placed in isolation. Infectious disease prevention protocols also continued to be followed to protect other residents and staff.
Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Kelly Fitzpatrick said “our highest priority has always been the health and safety of our most honored veteran residents that we serve in our two veterans’ homes. From the start of concerns about COVID-19, and especially upon learning that the very age group that resides in our veterans’ homes is also the most susceptible, we took immediate measures to protect our veterans, including adhering to state and federal guidelines. Even before COVID-19 emerged, the two veterans’ homes regularly followed strict infectious disease protocols. We believe that protecting the health and safety of the veterans in our homes helps ensure we live up to their motto, ‘the place where honor lives.’ We have a sacred trust to safeguard them now.”
Earlier Wednesday, OHA announced four new presumptive positive cases of the novel coronavirus.
OHA confirmed one new case each in Polk, Marion, Umatilla and Deschutes counties. None of the new cases involved travel to a country where the virus is actively spreading. The Polk, Marion and Deschutes cases had no known close contacts with confirmed cases, so they are considered community-spread. The Umatilla County case is a close contact with that county’s first case.
OHA and Polk, Marion, Umatilla and Deschutes counties are working to identify and isolate any individuals who may have been in close contacts with the cases in the last 14 days.
“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.