First presumptive cases of COVID-19 in southern Oregon found in Jackson, Klamath counties

Public health officials announced on Saturday morning that there are four new presumptive cases of coronavirus in Oregon, some of them in Jackson and Klamath counties.

Posted: Mar 7, 2020 9:11 AM
Updated: Mar 7, 2020 3:14 PM

NOTE: There are three attached videos above covering the initial conference call with Oregon Health Authority, a press conference delivered by Jackson County Public Health, and a seperate presser from Klamath County Public Health. You can watch them all in full.


KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Public health officials announced on Saturday morning that there are four new presumptive cases of the novel coronavirus in Oregon, some of them in Jackson and Klamath counties — marking the first identified cases in southern Oregon and bringing the state total up to seven.

"Oregon health officials have identified four new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 among residents in Jackson, Klamath and Washington counties," the Oregon Health Authority said in a statement.

A presumptive case means that someone has tested positive at an in-state lab using CDC test kits, but still has to be confirmed by the CDC's own labs. Previously there were three known cases in the state, only one of which had been confirmed by the CDC.


CONTEXT: What we know so far about the new coronavirus, COVID-19


Two of those new cases were detected in Jackson County, according to Jackson County Public Health. They are both adults between the ages of 55 and 74, "have known travel-related exposure," and are in a single household. They did not require hospitalization and have been isolated at home.

"Jackson County Public Health worked diligently to identify and notify all known contacts of the presumptive cases through our case investigation process. All persons under monitoring are cooperative and following the guidance," the agency said.

Because these cases are travel-related, Jackson County stressed that there is no known community spread of COVID-19 in the area at this time.

Jackson County Public Health held a press conference at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday to deliver more information and address questions about the COVID-19 cases.

"As testing becomes more widely available, we do anticipate that there will be additional cases identified," said Dr. Jim Shames with Jackson County Public Health.

At a press conference at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Klamath County Public Health officials largely echoed Jackson County's comments in reference to their own presumed case.

Officials confirmed that the Klamath County case was due to travel exposure, not community spread. However, they said that they would not reveal any identifying information about the patient — including their current condition and age range, details that Jackson County did provide.

Klamath County said that it had embarked on a "robust and effective response" to identify all people who had been in close contact with the patient, and those individuals are being monitored for the virus' incubation period of 14 days.

There is "no identified risk" to Klamath County, officials said. However, like Jackson County, Klamath officials said that they anticipate more cases to emerge.

Public health officer Dr. Wendy Warren said that Klamath County has a plan in place that was highly effective during the previous H1N1 "swine flu" outbreak, and it is being modified as needed for a response to coronavirus.

According to Klamath County, the state of Oregon can only process a maximum of 40 tests for COVID-19 per day. Right now, authorities are working to bring in private labs in an effort to boost that number.

Klamath County said that it will not hold any further press conferences for future cases, but it would continue to update OHA and its own website with new information.


RELATED: Myth versus fact when it comes to COVID-19


Health officials identified the third presumptive case, a person from Umatilla County, on Monday. They were being treated at a hospital in Walla Walla, Washington, while authorities worked to track down other people who may have been in close contact. The patient spent time at a youth basketball game in Weston, as well as Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Pendleton.

The earlier two cases were people in Washington County, Oregon, who had been in close contact with one another. The first case — now confirmed by the CDC — worked at a elementary school in Lake Oswego, prompting the school to shut down for thorough disinfecting.

The Oregon Health Authority announced on Friday that it would release some identifying features of the first three cases. The first and only confirmed case is a man between the ages of 40 and 50. He remains hospitalized and his status is "currently unavailable." The second case was a woman in the same age range; OHA said that she is not currently hospitalized and is recovering from COVID-19. The third case is a man between the ages of 60 and 70. His status was also not available.


RELATED: Local senior living facility preparing for possibility of coronavirus in southern Oregon


An update from OHA, also on Friday, listed no new cases of the virus, though test samples from 28 possible cases were still awaiting results.

OHA continues to recommend that all people in Oregon take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of many respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza:

  • Stay home while you are sick.
  • Never visit a hospital or long-term-care facility if you have a fever or cough illness.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
  • Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
  • Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the US.

"Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms," OHA said. "If you are feeling sick with mild symptoms and do not need to seek medical care, stay home while you recover. If you are sick and plan to seek care, please call before going in for care so arrangements can be made to prevent exposing others. For urgent medical needs, call 911."

This is a developing story, and NewsWatch 12 will update the article with more details as they emerge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133851

Reported Deaths: 1803
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28467459
Washington18734171
Marion16247239
Clackamas11698138
Lane8353109
Jackson693085
Umatilla679368
Deschutes499936
Yamhill319045
Malheur313552
Linn311646
Polk245540
Klamath242838
Josephine174333
Benton170514
Jefferson170525
Douglas168743
Union111416
Wasco108123
Columbia104918
Lincoln99617
Hood River95421
Coos93815
Morrow93810
Clatsop6865
Crook62110
Baker5685
Tillamook3652
Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3015644

Reported Deaths: 33724
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles102419013936
San Bernardino2540941560
Riverside2422062517
Orange2123892367
San Diego2117872103
Santa Clara935571076
Kern85362565
Fresno82039932
Sacramento801541080
Alameda67375764
Ventura61257412
San Joaquin57094748
Contra Costa52146449
Stanislaus42548749
Tulare41016501
Monterey35418250
San Mateo32186294
San Francisco29139262
Imperial25253463
Solano25216105
Santa Barbara24481231
Sonoma23871240
Merced23800296
Kings19254133
Placer17194173
San Luis Obispo15658128
Madera13328130
Santa Cruz12196113
Marin11569154
Yolo10519131
Shasta9594117
Butte9411121
El Dorado765944
Sutter760477
Napa752139
Lassen509413
San Benito494143
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada317673
Mendocino311432
Amador300129
Lake257228
Humboldt232224
Glenn192419
Colusa16919
Calaveras160823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10914
Inyo92429
Del Norte8572
Plumas5735
Modoc3793
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 57°
Brookings
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 62°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 57°
Medford
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 57°
Klamath Falls
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 41°
Dry and mild Tuesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events