March 15, 2020
Oregon now has a total of 39 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority announced three new cases of the novel coronavirus as of 11 a.m. today.
OHA is reporting 1 new case in Yamhill County, 1 new case in Deschutes County, and 1 new case in Linn County. The Yamhill County and Deschutes County cases are believed to be community acquired.
The case in Linn County is a staff member at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon, which currently has nine residents who have tested positive. The employee was sent home when symptoms appeared and has remained in isolation ever since, in accordance with established infection prevention protocols and public health guidelines. Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is working closely with OHA to coordinate and prioritize testing for residents and staff at the Oregon Veterans' Home in Lebanon.
“Protecting our dedicated staff, along with our residents, has always been the highest priority. All infectious disease control precautions were, and continue to be, taken to mitigate the spread,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “I cannot speak highly enough of the herculean efforts these staff members have taken to continue to provide exceptional care to our honored residents even before this outbreak. They are truly going above and beyond, and all efforts are being made by ODVA, our state agency partners, and our Linn County partners to support them in their critical work.”
Health officials also reminded the public that viruses don’t discriminate – and neither should we. The COVID-19 virus spreads like the flu, when someone who is sick coughs or sneezes close to another person (close means within about 6 feet). No group of people is more likely to get COVID-19 or spread it to others.
“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, State Health Officer and 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 and away from others if you’re sick.”
Officials continue to urge all Oregonians to take steps to protect themselves, their families, and 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, 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 themselves and those most at risk:
- Never visit a hospital or long-term-care facility if you have a fever or cough.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like bathrooms, desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, faucet handles, toys and cell phones.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home and away from others if you are ill.
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.
Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority leads the state response.
United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.
Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.