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Backtracking confirmed COVID-19 cases to help slow the virus' spread

Health agencies in Josephine and Jackson County work to compile a list of contacts from positive coronavirus patients.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 5:34 PM
Updated: Mar 24, 2020 6:36 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — When a new case of the novel coronavirus is confirmed, a team of case investigators works backward from 14 days of the first sign of symptoms to try and find people who may have been exposed.

The case investigators in Josephine County will work with the patient, the patient's health care provider and any organizations the patient has contact with.


RELATED: Asante employee in Josephine County tests positive for COVID-19


It's a multi-agency task force that helps retrace the steps of the patient. In Josephine County, there are currently nine agencies working together to collect this information.

"Through a thorough contact investigation, we are able to gain demographic information. Phone numbers, address, things of that nature," Anthony Perry, a communicable disease specialist for Josephine County Public Health, said.

With that information, investigators create a contact list of people who could've come in contact with. The process typically takes three to six days per case but varies based on a patient and the social interactions they typically have with others.

When those contacts are identified, the team interviews the contact and then finds out if they are at risk to have been exposed.

"With symptomatic individuals, they will become persons under investigation," said Perry. "We will then conduct monitoring with them, but for individuals who do not have any symptoms, those individuals are just recommended to self-isolate at home, monitor their fever and their symptoms and then from there, if they develop, then we will proceed further with either testing or treatment of their symptoms.”

"There are certain groups of people who are at high risk for complications for COVID-19, so those people would be more likely to be tested," said Josephine County Public Health Officer Dr. David Candelaria. "These would be people who are older people with morbidities, people who are residents of long term care facilities. But what’s different in this case investigation is because of the scarcity in supplies for testing and the test itself, not everyone who becomes symptomatic will become tested.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30995

Reported Deaths: 529
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah6853133
Marion446690
Washington431558
Umatilla291641
Clackamas227361
Malheur153923
Jackson10574
Lane99115
Deschutes77712
Yamhill73814
Jefferson5138
Polk50315
Morrow4906
Lincoln47313
Linn46813
Union4352
Benton2806
Klamath2752
Hood River2450
Wasco2443
Douglas2113
Josephine1862
Columbia1531
Coos1420
Clatsop1210
Baker902
Crook601
Tillamook490
Curry300
Lake280
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Gilliam80
Grant80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 790096

Reported Deaths: 15056
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2614466366
Riverside574191162
San Bernardino52649908
Orange522011128
San Diego44925760
Kern31509354
Fresno27769355
Sacramento21628383
Alameda20641374
Santa Clara20511297
San Joaquin19841415
Stanislaus16351337
Contra Costa15958201
Tulare15599256
Ventura12406143
Imperial11583314
San Francisco1080799
San Mateo9598143
Monterey955067
Santa Barbara8880110
Merced8750134
Kings743077
Sonoma7112114
Marin6591112
Solano617555
Madera439162
Placer348841
San Luis Obispo339327
Butte276435
Yolo275454
Santa Cruz22188
Sutter164210
Napa162613
San Benito131011
Yuba11187
El Dorado10734
Mendocino85118
Lassen7350
Shasta70914
Glenn5503
Nevada5116
Colusa5106
Tehama5094
Lake49210
Humboldt4856
Calaveras31114
Amador28616
Tuolumne2214
Inyo18714
Mono1652
Siskiyou1610
Del Norte1361
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc240
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
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