A southern Oregon resident who knowingly went to work with coronavirus symptoms is connected to two separate outbreaks in the area, county officials said.
The unidentified person later tested positive for the virus, with officials saying they were responsible for “superspreader actions.”
“One of those outbreaks has resulted in seven deaths, and the other recent outbreak has placed over 300 people/families in quarantine,” Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said in a statement Thursday, according to The Washington Post. “We can’t even imagine the tremendous remorse these people are feeling right now, and we sympathize with them.”
“In addition to the super spreader events, we also have super spreader actions. This is the one of the most concerning issues we are facing right now,” he added. “The top of the list for super spreader actions are people who are unwittingly and unconsciously choosing to go to work when they are sick.”
Thirty-seven people have died in the county since the pandemic began, while the state has seen 1,347 deaths. Douglas County is one of 29 jurisdictions state officials deemed at “extreme risk” due to the virus, and the seven-person death toll for one of the outbreaks accounts for nearly 20 percent of all reported coronavirus deaths in the county.
Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownFar-right protesters storm Oregon Capitol calling for end of COVID-19 restrictions Oregon governor calls special legislative session to consider COVID-19, wildfire aid Oregon governor urges hosts to ‘uninvite’ guests MORE (D) has placed Oregon under a state of emergency through at least March 3 while a separate order requires residents to wear masks in public.
Although numerous white-collar workers have worked from home during the pandemic, other workplaces where that is not an option, including grocery stores and meatpacking plants, have seen numerous outbreaks. Douglas County officials did not disclose where the person at the center of the outbreak worked or the nature of their job.