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Sunday, 28 February 2021

Jackson County hosts press conference on two COVID-19 cases

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Jackson County hosts press conference on two COVID-19 cases
Jackson County hosts press conference on two COVID-19 cases

Two cases have been identified in the County, both believed to be travel-related.

Right, 35 broncos liggins.

35 broncos liggins.>> we're bris all morning.

Let's go live to the jackson county health department.

>> protect yourself and your family.

I want to start by reminding you that the rights of community members is paramount, so we're going to share information that we can.

But we will not share any identifiable information about these presumptive or confirmed cases of covid-19.

We have two presumptive cases of covid-19 in the county, these are both adults, they're aged 55 to 74.

These are travel related and they are in one household together.

The individuals have been fully cooperative with jackson county.

And we don't feel there's any identifiable risk to the greater community in jackson county.

And there are no known community spread at this time.

Just to be clear, when we say presumptive case, what that means is the test that we ran at the oregon state lab was positive.

The tests will then be confirmed at the c.d.c.

Lab and then it will be a confirmed case.

So we've worked diligently to identify and notify all known contacts of the presumptive cases through our usual case identification process.

That includes identifying all known contacts of the presumptive case, notifying them, do risk assessments, and this allows us to apply monitoring requirements that have been established by the c.d.c.

And the oregon health authority.

So we have identified all those contacts, and we have had some individuals under monitoring where we get their temperatures and we communicate with them on a daily basis, just to be absolutely safe.

All persons under monitoring are monitored by jackson county public health for 14 days, although that's a bits variable.

As testing becomes widely available we do identify the possible identification of other cases.

So we've activated our county emergency operations center and we have dedicated staff who will fill the various positions and respond as appropriate.

Can we stop for a minute.

Sorry.

We'll take a quick break.

>> as you saw, that was dr. shames from the jackson county health department describing what they are doing so far after finding two presumptive cases of coronavirus in jackson county.

These two cases are from people who are traveling out of the area.

As of right now they are in their own environment, in their home, they yourself isolating.

The county says there have been no cases of any kind of community spread at this point.

They say they do have people under monitoring, but as of right now they do not have any other cases other than these two cases they traced back to a traveling situation.

Those individuals are ages 55 to 74, but because of privacy concerns that's all the information they're providing about the people involved.

They did mention they have set up an emergency team that they are going to staff with members of the county health authority, that they will be monitoring those folks, reaching out to them, they'll be taking their temperature and working with members from the county to make sure their situation does not change.

We also have information about the cases that are also unfolding in klamath county today.

That individual, as we understand, is in the hospital.

The two cases that we are discussing right now in jackson county are in their homes, they yourself isolating.

Dr. jim shames started that news conference today talking about a team that he has set up within the county to make sure they have constant outreach with those individuals.

They also said that the county has reached out to individuals that those two cases may have contacted in the community.

As of right now, they have not found any of those contacts to be positive.

He also said that the two people in our area have taken the tests administered by jackson county and the state of oregon.

Those tests were then taken to the oregon state lab where they were confirmed to be positive.

They will not be officially positive coronavirus cases until those findings are verified.

There is sun confirmed case in oregon right now that has gone through that process, two other presumed cases -- let's go back and see if they have updated this particular meeting.

>> unfolding live, i thought drn conference.

Once again, we have two confirmed cases, presumptive positive in jackson county.

Those individuals yourself isolating, they're staying in their home, being monitored by the county.

We also know that those who have been contacted by those two people in the county are now on 14-day monitoring by the county themselves.

They have set up a theme will be outreaching to those people to monitor their health situation.

As of right now there have been no cases of community spread.

Those are situations where the county and or other health authorities have not been able to find the source.

In the cases in jackson county, they know specifically these are travel related cases.

These two individuals are not in a hospital, their health is not at a point are they need to be constantly supervised by a medical professional.

They have been very cooperative so far with the county, and giving them information about who they contacted, where they might have been exposed.

In all these cases, not only in our area but others, there are strict confidentiality laws that the county, state and federal authorities have to abide by.

Let's go back to dr. shames.

>> we know that there's concern in the community about the novel coronavirus and we here at jackson county public health understand that concern.

We're going to do our best to share information that the community can use to protect themselves and their family.

Public health values the rights of our community members and the confidentiality regarding their medical information.

So we're not going to release any identifiable information that could possibly identify a presumptive or confirmed case of coronavirus.

We have two presumptive covid-19 cases, they're both adults between the ages of 55 and 74.

This is travel related and these individuals are in one household neither individual required hospitalization and they remain isolated at home and they've been fully cooperative with jackson county public health.

There's no identifiable risk to the greater community.

And there's no known community spread at this time, just to be clear when we say presumptive case, we mean a case that has tested positive at the oregon state laboratory and needs to be confirmed at the c.d.c.

Laboratory, and then will be called a confirmed case.

So we're working diligently to identify, we have worked diligently to identify and notify all known contacts of the presumptive cases, and this is what we do at public health, this is contact case investigation and we've identified all known contacts, those that neededded to be isolated have been isolated, and we are following the recommendations of the oregon health authority and the c.d.c.

Jackson county public health has identified all the known contacts and there's no one else that we're aware of that needs to be identified.

The people under monitoring can be monitored generally for 14 days, which we believe is the full incubation period for this disease, and we have individuals in the southern oregon area that are under monitoring as is true throughout the state and the nation.

As testing becomes more widely available we do anticipate that there will be additional cases identified.

We will continue to work closely with the oregon health authority and the c.d.

Exprvment our community partners on this response.

Here's where the situation stands now.

This is a new disease, it's caused by a novel coronavirus that has never existed in humans before.

We have other coronaviruses that have caused the common cold, this one is different, it's novel.

It generally causes mild illness, we need to remember that 80% of the people that get coronavirus have mild illness and that we are probably identifying mostly the people that are more significantly ill, so the numbers may change, we expect them to change over time.

The symptoms are fever, cough, evidence of a low respiratory infection.

Weakness and shortness of breath, chest pain, as the disease can get more severe.

The elderly are significantly more at risk than younger individuals.

Children don't seem to get the disease very much and when they do it's pretty mild.

Some of the data we have comes from china, and what we know that as the disease is spread around the world some of the statistics look quite a bit different.

So although the mortality rate and the hospitalization rate was fairly high in china, it is beginning to look that the data is more favorable as we start looking at what's happening in the united states.

We need to remember this is a disease that is spread from person to person, by droplets, so that when somebody coughs or sneezes, the droplets can go out three to six feet from them and possibly infect another person.

It's transmitted either by getting those droplets on your mucus membranes directly or from inanimate objects.

If you're in a high risk category over the age of 60, have a pre-existing chronic disease, like cardiovascular disease or lung disease.

You don't want to put yourself in jeopardy by being in crowded places.

And due to some restriction of activities to keep yourselves safe.

We recommend that if you have a coughing illness and you're going to be around other people that you wear some kind of protection, a mask or something to keep those droplets from infecting others.

We do not recommend mask wearing for the general public.

There's no evidence that it's really beneficial.

We need to wash our hands frequently, we need to do it for rowly.

We need to teach our children how to do it.

If you don't have soap and water, then hand sanitizer should be made available.

There's a number of excellent videos that remind us all how to wash our hands.

We need to stop touching our faces, and touching our eyes and our nose and mouth, and it's kind of a nervous habit i think we can learn to break.

And i guess the only other significant point i want to make is that we need to start thinking about ways to reduce social contact, it's called social distancing, and there may be work situations where you could be working from home, there may be gatherings you might want to postpone.

These are things that would be good to institute now.

We do not have any evidence of widespread coronavirus in our community, but the way to reduce the activity from preventing it from being a widespread situation here is to start instituting those behaviors.

The other important issue is what though do if you are feeling ill.

If you are, if you have a cough and a fever and you're not terribly sick, you could remain at home.

And drink plenty of fluids, do whatever you need to do to control your fever, try to avoid contact with other people.

If you think you need to be seen because you're getting seriously ill, you should call your health care provider ahead of time so that they can see you in a way that reduces the spread to other people.

So health care facilities are prepared to handle that, it's helpful for them to know that you need to be seen so they can put you in a special room, put a mask on you when you arrive, that sort of thing.

Okay.

Any questions?

>> i have one.

Leah thompson.

Earlier you said there was no risk of spread within the community.

Can you explain how you're sure of that?

>> we're not sure of that.

We can do our best to assess the potential risk.

Some people don't know that they're spreading the disease and they have lots of contact with other people.

That was not the case here.

What i think is -- there may be individuals who have the novel coronavirus that we aren't aware of.

But our assessment of this situation is that these individuals were very cooperative, they had their own concerns and they kept to themselves and i think that the risk of spread is not severe.

>> are (inaudible question).

>> the coronavirus, we can obtain the specimen here and sent to it the state.

So we have nothing more local than that.

I would like to mention at this point that when we talk about testing, we're talking about a swab that goes into the nose, to the back of the threat, can also make people cough, it's not terribly comfortable.

So the test is not simple to perform, and the people performing it need to be wearing full protective gear.

So it's not a test that can casually be done, and needs to be done properly by an appropriately trained health care provider.

(inaudible question).

>> yes.

So that criteria changes on almost a daily basis, as more tests become available.

And as we learn more about the disease.

So we are testing individuals who have reason to have had contact, perhaps they were traveling internationally, or they had contact with somebody who was known to have covid-19, and have symptoms. and those folks can be tested, and previously the testing had to go through public health.

At this point when people fulfill a certain criteria their health care provider can ask for the test and the test can be done.

>> there are 55 to 74 years old in jackson county, can you say how they're related, are they roommates, brother sister, married?

Anything of that nature we can know about them?

>> the smaller the community the more likely it is that we could inadvertently provide information that could identify them, and that would be breaking our trust.

So we really can't provide any more information than that.

>> another question i have, i know it's a new type of virus, if you get it once could you get it again?

>> we need to remember, we're really just a couple of months into this outbreak.

And we're learning as we go.

We don't believe so.

But we may find out otherwise in the future.

>> it's the tail end of the cold and flu season right now.

If somebody, seems like covid-19 is relatively mile symptoms for a lot of people.

Should they be alarmed, how should people proceed?

>> well, this is perhaps a good reminder of what we ought to be doing all the time with viral infections.

We are a little casual about putting other people at risk.

If you're sick and you have infected, you should isolate yourself, don't put other people at risk.

What might be a mild illness for you could be a serious illness for someone else.

I think that's been, being a good citizen and this is a good reminder of that.

This does resemble the flu for many people.

It may resemble like a cold for children.

But those at risk, you know, the elderly, people can cardiovascular and pulmonary disease can get seriously ill.

Looks like the mortality rate for those 80 and older is much higher than it would be for younger individuals.

(inaudible question) (inaudible question).

>> by travel, i mean international travel.

We're talking about people who were out of the country.

>> are we only concerned about people who have gone to china or other countries facing outbreaks?

>> well, there are a number of countries that have significant outbreaks.

China, south korea, japan, northern italy.

Tomorrow there will be more countries on the list.

So the criteria changes as the situation on the ground changes.

>> are their conditions improving at this point?

>> yes, they're doing well.

(inaudible question) how long do you know the virus lasts on a surface?

>> this appears to be not a particularly hardy virus.

So that it doesn't take much to kill it.

It might remain on surfaces for hours, potentially for days, and it really depends on the surface and the conditions.

The good news is that you can, we believe you can easily kill this virus in any one of a number of ways.

So you could use soap and water, you could use an alcohol based disinfectant, a dilute bleach solution, and you can effectively disinfect surfaces.

>> a question about treatment, can you walk through what treatment looks like if you are diagnosed with covid-19?

>> sure.

So people talk about the comparison of this disease with influenza which is valid to a point.

For flu we have a vaccine which is pretty effective and we have antiviral medications.

We do not have those tools available to us for this disease.

So what that means is the treatment is symptomatic.

For people who get very ill who cannot get enough oxygen because of their lung disease, that treatment may be providing them with oxygen, actually putting in a tube and breathing for them, giving them i.v.

Fluids, et cetera.

That's the level of treatment.

It definitely does, you know, allows people to weather the storm, you can provide that level of intensive care, and they can come out the other end and that's one of the reasons that depending on the sophistication of the health care system or whether the system is overwhelmed or not can greatly influence mortality rate.

If you have access to that level of care, you can save more lives.

(inaudible question).

>> i don't think it's appropriate to identify that, because we don't want to identify the individuals.

>> do you think the u.s. could have done something differently to prevent the outbreaks that we're experiencing now?

>> so the basic tenet of handling an outbreak like this is to be prepared, and i think we've had a number of preparatory occurrences, such as preparing for h1n1, preparing for the ebola, et cetera.

So the nation as a whole and our preparedness system specifically have gone through this exercise with community partners.

Nevertheless, something comes along that is novel, you have to learn new lessons.

I don't know the details of what happened with the testing issues with the c.d.c., that definitely set us back.

We would like to be in a position where we could test more people, get a better sense of how this disease is presenting.

You work with what you've got.

>> do you think limited resources in rural areas puts them at a disadvantage?

>> i think there's pluses and minuses to being rural.

Probably a few opportunities for congestion that can promote spread.

I think there's an advantage for all the key partners to know each other by name and to be able to sit down and get things done.

And yet we probably have fewer staff and fewer resources.

So i'm not sure about that, i can see it either way.

>> any other questions?

Okay.

>> sounds like you're confident that we're not going to get an outbreak in jackson county, is that right?

>> that is not right.

So here's our strategy.

In the case of spread throughout the community, which we don't seem to have in jackson county but we certainly could, what we want to do is to minimize the spread, minimize the spread to individuals who are at risk of getting seriously ill, and by doing that we don't overwhelm the systems that we have in place.

If we can keep the disease at any one point from getting very, very high, that means we have intensive care unit beds, we have hospital staff, we have emt's, everybody available to help us get through this, and that's one of the primary roles of all of us standing up here, but we can't prevent something that is inevitably going to happen.

We can prepare for it, we can mitigate it, and that's what we're doing.

>> do you think there's any chance of it spreading to another county?

>> i'd say the risks to you are pretty much the same as the risks, we're all in this together.

>> any other questions?

Okay, thank you.

>> thank you.

>> that was dr. jim shames from the jackson county health

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