KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Klamath County Public Health reported 151 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, alongside another fatality from the virus.
The latest death was an 82-year-old woman who passed away at her residence on December 1. She had underlying health conditions. Her passing bring Klamath County's death toll from the virus to 8.
The 151 new cases on Friday brought Klamath County's weekly count to 255, and has overwhelmed public health officials' ability for timely contact tracing.
“In the last 24 hours more than 150 new positive cases have been reported to KCPH,” said Director Jennifer Little. “This volume of new cases exceeds our capacity to continue to follow up on all cases within 24 hours.
“All positive cases will continue to receive calls from public health but it may take days before you hear from us, as we work through new case investigations in a prioritized manner based on risk. We will no longer be following up with close contacts, unless they are determined to be high risk."
Little directed people who have received a positive test, or have a close contact who tested positive, to the county's public health website.
“We are asking those who have tested positive to let their close contacts know of their exposure. A close contact is someone who has been within six feet of a positive individual for 15 or more cumulative minutes, with or without a mask,” Little said.
Sky Lakes Medical Center also put out a statement on Friday, pushing back at coronavirus misinformation and defiance of public health measures in the community as the hospital continues to treat dozens of COVID-19 patients — some of them seriously ill and in the ICU.
"Masks will not prevent all spread of this disease, but it will certainly and clearly prevent some of it," the medical provider said. "Some people don’t want to wear a mask because they think it’s not protecting them. That is not why we ask you to wear one. We are asking you to be selfless and protect others because you may have COVID and not know it. Isn’t preventing the suffering of even one person having to struggle just to breathe enough to ask people to wear a mask?"