Coos Health & Wellness

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COOS COUNTY — A total of four county residents have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, health officials are reporting.

Three of those deaths have come in the last week.

A 56-year-old man with underlying conditions was the county's fourth death. He tested positive for the virus Oct. 26 and died Nov. 26 at Oregon Health & Sciences University, the Oregon Health Authority reported.

Since the pandemic began, the county has reported 430 cases of the virus. 160 people are under monitoring by Coos Health & Wellness, though department staff said that number is likely to rise quickly.

The county now has no individuals hospitalized with the virus, as the three who were hospitalized previously have died.

Coos Health & Wellness also reported an outbreak of cases at Southwestern Oregon Community College. Eight cases have been attributed to a dorm on the campus, including seven students and one staff member.

Those students may have already left campus and returned home after the term of classes, though CHW Assistant Director Eric Gleason is confident that they followed CHW's guidance to isolate 

"You could, ostensibly, isolate and still travel, if you traveled by yourself in a vehicle. We've had that happen before," Gleason said. "We're under the assumption, based on the feedback given from those that were in contact with our team, that all of the precautions were taken so that they could make it home safely or isolate wherever they needed to isolate safely."

At least two other outbreaks in the community are still considered active, CHW officials said.

An outbreak at Roseburg Forest Products in Coquille, first reported in late October, is now up to nine related cases, the state's Nov. 25 weekly report shows.

An outbreak at the First Student bus facility in Coos Bay is also now up to nine cases according to the same report. That outbreak was first reported Nov. 10, and school district officials said at the time only one impacted individual had been in contact with students.

The impact of social gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend won't be noticeable in the data for over a week. Gleason said there weren't any major public events which concerned him in terms of virus transmission — but he isn't optimistic about people having taken enough precautions during social events.

"I think that we're just going to have to wait and see," he said. "History has kind of shown in our last nine, 10 months that people are going to gather, whether we tell them not to. We would just hope that people maintained six people, or close to it, socially distanced and wore their masks."

The county's current case rate means that, when a new slate of state virus restrictions takes affect Thursday, Coos County will likely be in the "high risk" category. That means indoor dining will be allowed at 25%, and gyms will be allowed to open at 50% capacity.

Reporter Zack Demars can be reached at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.

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