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Health & Medicine

Lane County Health Officials Investigate Contacts of Two Presumptive Cases of COVID-19

Rachael McDonald

Lane County health officials say they’re tracing the contacts of a 60- year-old woman who died on March 14 from suspected COVID-19.

The woman was brought to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield for cardiac arrest where she died. She then tested positive for COVID-19. The nine Eugene-Springfield Fire personnel who had contact with her are now self-isolating in case they were exposed to the virus. Lane County Public Health’s Jason Davis:

“Our indication right now is that they followed all proper protocol as identified by Lane County Public Health, so we anticipate that they will not become ill but just in an abundance of caution right now and while we’re in a situation where we don’t have a lot of confirmed tests, we are having them do that self-isolation.”

Lane County has another presumptive case of COVID-19 in a 69-year old man, who is in stable condition at home. The Health Department is communicating with individuals who may have been in contact with him as well.

As more testing for the virus comes online, Oregon has seen a noticeable uptick in cases of COVID-19 in recent days. Lane County Public Health spokesperson Jason Davis says with more labs operating in the state he expect the number of cases to continue to go up.

“That’s because of the private testing coming online. And so, unfortunately we’re getting that information kind of in batches. And so you’ll see very dramatic spikes but what we know is those tests are happening every day and we’re expecting to see greater capacity.”

To test for COVID-19, Health care providers take swabs from a person’s nose and throat. They’re placed in a solution, then sent to labs. Then it’s a 3 step process to determine if it’s COVID-19. Davis says there are shortages of the chemicals needed for the tests.  Lane County Public Health has produced a video to explain the testing process.

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