An image of the coronavirus from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Oregon officials announced the state’s first presumptive case of coronavirus, a disease that has killed thousands and sickened more as it has spread across the world.
Gov. Kate Brown and public health officials announced the case on Friday night after being alerted to it earlier that afternoon.
While the case hasn’t been proven to be coronavirus, also known as covid-19, officials are treating it as such while it’s being tested under guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The individual suspected of being infected with the disease lives in Washington County and is employed by a school in Lake Oswego.
Pat Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority said the individual spent time at Forest Hills Elementary School in Lake Oswego and the school will be closed while public health officials complete their investigation, which will include tracing the where the possibly infected individual went and people they may have come into contact with.
The person “may have exposed students and staff” at the school, the state said in announcing the case.
Those who may have come into contact with the individual would be notified.
“Contact tracing is our top priority right now,” said Allen.
Officials don’t believe the individual contracted the disease from travel but by exposure from someone else in the community. He said it’s not known how the person was exposed.
The individual is isolated and being cared for at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro. Other details about the individual were not released out of privacy concerns.
The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory in Hillsboro is testing to see if the individual is positive using a kit provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’ve said this was a fast-moving situation and we’ve proved that to be true,” Allen said.
Brown advised the public to go about their daily lives. Officials advised the public to inquire about the sick-leave policies at their jobs and stay home if they become sick with cold or flu-like symptoms. They also advised the public to wash their hands and cover their mouths when they cough.