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Deschutes County reports first presumptive COVID-19 case, one of 19 across state - KTVZ

14 March /2020
news-details Deschutes County reports first presumptive COVID-19 case, one of 19 across state - KTVZ

One of four new cases announced around the state Wednesday

(Update: Local patient in isolation at St. Charles facility; method of contracting under investigation)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon now has a total of 19 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since Feb. 28 after the Oregon Health Authority announced four new presumptive positive cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, one in Deschutes County.

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.

Dr. Jeff Absalon, chief physician executive at St. Charles Health System, told reporters at a Bend news conference the Deschutes County patient is in an isolation room at a St. Charles facility. More specifics were not released.

Dr. George Conway, Deschutes County's health services director, said they are not yet certain whether the case involved travel or exposure in the community.

“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.

As testing capacity increases — with Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics online, and clinical laboratories at some Oregon hospitals expected to begin testing by next week — officials expect the number of people who test positive with COVID-19 to rise.

Stay informed

Deschutes County Public Health held a news conference Wednesday afternoon on the presumptive case.

The news conference is being livestreamed at

NewsChannel 21's Jordan Williams is at the news conference and will have reports on NewsChannel 21 Fox @ 4 and KTVZ at 5 and 6 p.m.

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