Tests of Three County Residents Return Negative for Coronavirus


Umatilla County Public (UCo Health) is reporting today that the results of tests on three Umatilla County residents who came in contact with another person who is presumed to have tested positive for the coronavirus have come back negative. County health officials no further testing will be conducted on these samples.

UCo Health is waiting for official confirmation from the Center for Disease Control on the presumptive positive case reported by the Oregon Health Authority on March 2.  County health officials, however, say the individual is recovering.

Due to the nature of the coronavirus or COVID-19, officials anticipate that additional samples will be collected for testing. UCo Health will only release information in the event that another presumptive positive result is received.

UCo Health is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation as it evolves and is checking in daily with those being monitored due to close contact with the presumptive case. Those placed under monitoring or investigation with the UCo Health who receive a negative lab test result will remain under monitoring in accordance with CDC guidelines.

UCo Health officials say there have been reports of prejudice against people of Asian descent and against members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, based on unfounded fears that they may be more likely to have the virus. UCo Health said that people are not risk of exposure to COVID-19 based on where they live, recreate or work.

“Respiratory viruses like COVID-19 spread when carried through tiny droplets from an infected person to the nose, mouth, or eyes of someone else,” said UCo Health Director Joseph Fiumara. “From what we know, transmission requires prolonged close contact with an infected individual, so merely being in the same room as someone carrying the virus is not enough. It is imperative to understand that COVID-19 does not target people of any certain race, ethnicity or country of origin, and people should not make assumptions about someone’s health status based on those factors.”

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and UCo 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.

Umatilla County residents are encouraged to call 211 with questions regarding COVID-19.

Anyone exhibiting symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their primary care provider first in order to discuss the next steps. Do not go to urgent care, doctor’s offices or the hospital with these symptoms without calling a care provider first. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

For more information, refer to the Oregon Health Authority.