3 More Umatilla County Residents Being Tested for Coronavirus

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Umatilla County Public Health announced today that three additional samples from Umatilla County residents who were in close contact with an individual presumed to have been infected have been collected and sent for testing.

Umatilla County reported on Monday of one presumptive positive case of COVID-19. Officials are waiting official confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control, but are reporting that the infected individual is recovering. Preliminary reports indicate the Umatilla County resident attended a youth basketball game at a gymnasium at Weston Middle School, 205 E. Wallace St. in Weston, on Saturday, Feb. 29.

The tests on the three individuals who came in contact with the infected Umatilla County resident have been sent to a Washington state lab.

It is still the middle of a severe cold and flu season and as such, every individual with flu-like symptoms does not need to be tested for COVID-19, according to county health officials. Medical providers will screen individuals with respiratory symptoms to rule out other potential causes such as pneumonia or influenza. If all other possible causes of symptoms are ruled out, then providers will coordinate with public health entities at the local and state level to determine whether COVID-19 testing is appropriate.

If testing is appropriate for COVID-19, samples will be collected and sent to a state public health lab for initial testing. If testing is positive, the sample will be sent to CDC for confirmation of COVID-19.

The spread of COVID-19 requires close contact with an infected individual; therefore, it is important for Umatilla County residents to know that they are not at increased risk of exposure based on where you live, recreate or work.

“Umatilla County Health is continuing to identify, contact and monitor at-risk individuals,” said Umatilla County Health Director Joseph Fiumar. “We appreciate how understanding and receptive residents have been to the advice being given.” Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Umatilla County Public Health continue to recommend all people in Oregon take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of many respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza:

  • 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
  • Face masks are not recommended for individuals who are not sick
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched
  • If you are sick, please stay home until recovered
  • 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 U.S.

County officials are asking Umatilla County residents to call 211 with questions regarding COVID-19. If you are exhibiting symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your primary care provider FIRST to discuss the next steps. Do not go to urgent care, doctor’s offices or the hospital with these symptoms without calling ahead first. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

For more information: visit the OHA Emerging Respiratory Disease page or the Washington Department of Health.

1 COMMENT

  1. There should be more testing. When a person who has not travelled or been exposed to known cases is diagnosed with COVID-19, that means it is more widespread than we know. This is the case for the Umatilla County case. Of course there aren’t a lot of cases when physicians haven’t had the freedom to test. You can’t diagnose a patient if you haven’t tested them. Come on medical and government. Be Proactive rather than reactive. You’re waiting until it’s serious instead of being proactive? Let’s see how that goes.

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