COOS COUNTY — Coos County has its 29th confirmed COVID-19 case, with two presumptive positive cases.
Last Wednesday evening, May 20, Coos Health and Wellness received word of a positive novel coronavirus case, who was a male between the ages of 40 and 60.
According to Coos Health and Wellness, this case does not appear to have connection to the cases at Shutter Creek Correctional Institution or the other cases in the community.
In fact, it has caused more questions than answers for local health officials.
“I was just kind of hoping that at one point when we get a case it is going to be fairly normal, this is definitely not a normal case,” said Brian Leon, Coos Health and Wellness epidemiologist. “We weren’t really aware of the situation when he was actually ill and presenting with symptoms that were consistent with COVID-19.”
According to medical records, around two months ago the individual had a 102-degree fever, a cough, extreme shortness of breath and fatigue — all symptoms related to COVID-19. However, at that time he was not given a test while at a medical facility.
“If your follow-up question is why didn’t he get tested, my answer is I would also like the answer to that question,” said Leon. Tests were available in Coos County at that time.
Leon later said, “This is far enough back, it’s going to be really, really hard for us to do any backwards tracing from there. But you know, it’s not impossible it’s just going to be extremely difficult. I would say the chances of are pretty low to discover where he got it. I would say it could even predate our first case.”
The first positive case of coronavirus in Coos County was on April 9 at Shutter Creek Correctional Institution.
The individual with this latest case was tested for COVID-19 after needing medical treatment for an “acute emergency” that had nothing to do with the coronavirus.
While this person was showing symptoms for the coronavirus months ago, based on other health information, Coos Health and Wellness believe he most likely was not in public very often.
“He hasn’t been out and about much,” said Leon. “He’s had several encounters, medical encounters over the last couple months. If the last couples weeks are any indication, he has not been parading around town partying. He has pretty much been home for the most part.”
However, Coos Health and Wellness could not confirm that he is still in Coos County and they know that he briefly left the county at least once.
Despite symptoms for this individual to have occurred weeks ago, Coos Health and Wellness is following protocols that mean asking him to self-isolate and provide close contacts.
“We are forced to treat him right now as an asymptomatic positive. Which already reduces the chances for transmission. And so we would consider any close contact at this point low risk as far as the people he’s been around recently,” said Leon.
“But we are still following through as if he is potentially infectious and going through all those protocols with all those people that he has been in contact with. I would characterize the risk of anybody he has been around in the last one to two weeks as low.”