KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- Health officials in Klamath County are currently investigating seven new positive case of the coronavirus, now bringing the county total to 12. One of those individuals, the first case confirmed in the county, has since made a full recovery.
With the latest cases comes a warning about potential exposure on two airplane flights.
"While it is now known that Klamath County is experiencing community spread, Klamath County Public Health remains committed to identifying additional exposures when needed to best protect our community," the agency said.
According to the agency, two flights have been identified as possible areas of exposure to COVID-19: Alaska Airlines Flight 583 from Santa Ana to Portland and Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 from Portland to Medford on March 21.
"This was determined through contact tracing and investigation. Anyone associated with these flights who develops symptoms should contact their local public health agency," Klamath County Public Health said.
The agency says that it is working with Jackson County Public Health to make sure everyone in the region is notified about the possible exposure on these flights.
"Once Public Health is aware of a positive case, it works with the individual to determine close contacts who might be at risk," the agency said in an earlier statement. "Possible times and areas of exposure are also announced when known. Those individuals who may have been exposed are given instructions and next steps to prevent further exposure within the community."
Last week a roundabout warning from public health officials in Humboldt County, California identified a Delta Flight from Seattle to Medford as a possible exposure risk, information that was later confirmed by Jackson County.
People who have had a fever, dry cough, or difficulty breathing are asked to remain home until 72 hours after the symptoms stop, without the use of medication. Anyone needing medical help is asked to call ahead so protective measures can be taken. Individuals with life-threatening symptoms should go to the emergency room.
“Our highest priority is the health and safety of our community. We will take all steps necessary to ensure safety while also holding to our core value of integrity. We will not release the name, address or other identifying information about these people,” said Jennifer Little, KCPH director. “It is a matter of patient confidentiality.”
Though Klamath County has been loathe to release any identifying information about local cases, it has now started to release some demographics about them. So far, three cases have been in the 20-29 age group, one case 30-39, three cases 40-49, two cases 50-59, and three cases 60-69. No one age 70 or older has yet to test positive for COVID-19.
Three of the total cases have been in men, the rest are all women. Only two of the cases have been hospitalized, each in the 40 or older range. There are still no deaths reported in the county from COVID-19.
The agency said that in Klamath County "the expectation is that these individuals and their families be able to recover without being the targets of social media attacks and the stigmatization that has occurred in other Oregon communities."
Oregon Tech announced on Thursday that a staff member at the Klamath Falls campus had tested positive for COVID-19.