COOS COUNTY — Coos County's cases have jumped in the past month, with 43 confirmed cases and nine presumptive cases for a total of 52, Brian Leon, epidemiologist with Coos Health and Wellness reported Thursday afternoon.
Of that total, 24 are unassociated with the previous Shutter Creek Correctional Institution outbreak. Twenty of the new cases were discovered in the last 28 days; 13 of them in the last 14 days and nine of those since Monday.
One person has been hospitalized due to the virus and remains in the hospital but has improved, Leon said.
Five recent confirmed cases and one presumptive case are due to a workplace outbreak, according to CHW.
"At this time, we are only concerned about the employees," Leon said. "We feel ... that this is not a public concern and not a consumer-based business."
Leon said the workplace outbreak involves one man under age 40 and four men between the ages of 40-60, with four confirmed cases and one presumptive among them.
"The additional four in the last few days we don't have much information on," Leon said, adding that most of this week's cases that don't involve the workplace outbreak are people who have traveled outside the area and came back with the virus.
"We can usually stop those before there are too many transmissions," Leon said. "Please consider how necessary it is to travel and if you have to, remember to social distance, use a mask and hand sanitizer."
Another concerning trend that has been occuring in the last two weeks are what Leon and CHW’s Incident Commander Eric Gleason describe as "amatuer investigators" who announce on social media the names of people they think may have been exposed and should be self-isolating.
"This kind of behavior is not helpful," Gleason said. "Anyone who has concerns can contact us with any question about COVID-19. We have a team of people ready to answer. But to single out businesses or people you know ... that only discourages people to be open and honest about their exposure and information we need to perform a thorough investigation."
Gleason added that CHW has gotten some helpful tips from people who've called in.
Investigations through contact tracing spans a lot of people in a lot of counties, Gleason added, so there is certainly the possibility of more cases in the South Coast area. And with many in Coos County choosing not to wear a mask, CHW is "always staring down the barrel of more cases coming" especially with all the travel that's been happening since the county entered Phase 2.
"You can travel if you use safety precautions," Gleason said.
CHW advises those who do travel to act like they are going to the store and wear a mask, social distance and use hand sanitizer.
"If you're going to travel, you've go to make sure you're the safest person on that trip because you're the only person you can control," Gleason said.
People with questions regarding COVID-19, are encouraged to visit Coos Health and Wellness’ website for more information. People are also encouraged to email health official at email@example.com.