Asante employee first COVID-19 case in Josephine County
Health officials announced Friday a person in Josephine County has tested positive for COVID-19 — marking the first confirmed case in that county.
Josephine County health officials said they were notified of the test results Friday morning by the Oregon Health Authority. They are not naming the affected person.
Asante officials announced Friday afternoon they were notified the person who tested positive is an Asante employee in Josephine County.
Asante said is is not disclosing information about the person because of health care privacy and confidentiality laws.
"We are working closely with our local public health officials to identify any employees, patients and community members who may have had close contact with this person," Asante officials said in a statement. "Through contact tracing, the public health department will contact anyone who is identified. If contact tracing does not identify you as someone who may have come in contact with this individual, you should feel assured that you are not at risk."
Asante officials said the health care network, which includes hospitals in Grants Pass, Medford and Ashland, has been preparing for the eventuality of COVID-19 cases in Southern Oregon. They said Asante is ready to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic.
"We remain committed to providing the highest quality care to our patients while ensuring the safety of our health care workers. We continue to partner with our local health departments and other community leaders on ways to help limit the spread of novel coronavirus. We urge everyone to review their own personal actions to help limit the spread of COVID-19 within our communities," Asante said in the statement.
For people who have mild symptoms and think they might have COVID-19, Asante has established a COVID-19 hotline at 541-789-2813 to help answer questions, and ensure those with symptoms of COVID-19 can be appropriately evaluated and receive the right level of care, Asante officials said.
Symptoms include coughing, a fever and in some cases, diarrhea. People with symptoms are urged to call ahead to doctors' office and hospital emergency departments before visiting so health care workers can prepare to see them. Some doctors are using telemedicine and phone calls to reduce unnecessary direct contact with patients.
Continue to call 911 if you are experiencing a true medical emergency.
On March 7, Jackson County Public Health officials announced two cases of people with COVID-19 in Jackson County. The county has not announced any new cases since then and there have been no deaths.
Jackson County officials said there are likely more cases of COVID-19 in the community that have not been diagnosed yet. Labs nationwide are racing to ramp up their testing capabilities, but there is a backlog of tests.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners and the Josephine County Board of Commissioners both declared states of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday. County officials said the declarations are not a cause for panic. But making the declarations allows both county governments to expedite their responses to the pandemic.
As of Friday, 114 people in Oregon have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Washington has reported 1,376 positive cases as of Friday, making it one of the hardest hit states in the country, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
California has reported 982 positive cases, according to Friday CDC data.
Across America, 15,219 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been 201 deaths since Jan. 21. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have reported COVID-19 cases, the CDC said Friday.