DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. – A person who went to work sick probably caused two separate outbreaks of COVID-19 in Oregon, resulting in seven deaths and forcing more than 300 people to be quarantined, officials said.
Douglas County officials said last week that a person consciously went to work while he was ill and then tested positive for the virus. Two recent outbreaks in the county have been traced back to that individual.
“One of these outbreaks resulted in seven deaths, and the other recent outbreak placed more than 300 people / families in quarantine,” said a statement from Douglas County on December 17. “We can’t even imagine the tremendous remorse these people are feeling right now, and we sympathize with them.”
The first outbreak resulted in almost 20% of the county’s total COVID fatalities since the pandemic began, according to the Oregonian.
An Alaska Airlines health worker processes a COVID-19 rapid test at Portland International Airport on November 25, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Nathan Howard / Getty Images)
Local authorities did not disclose the name of the workplace where the outbreak started or the name of the individual, but called the decision a “super spreading action”.
“This is one of the most worrying problems that we are facing at the moment. At the top of the list of super spreaders are people who unconsciously and unconsciously choose to go to work when they are sick,” adds the statement.
Since the outbreak began, many weddings, funerals, religious services and other large gatherings have been identified as “super-spreading events”, in which the presence of a single COVID-19 infection can stimulate a major local outbreak.
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Douglas County officials also asked people to stay home if they experience symptoms and follow public health measures designed to limit the spread of the virus.
“Our updates are designed to encourage our residents to do the right thing and to help us protect all of our residents,” said the county. “That’s why we will continue to encourage you to protect yourself and others from contracting and spreading COVID, staying at home if you are sick and following the guidelines listed in our updates. Please help us stay safe.”
So far, Oregon reported almost 107,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,400 virus deaths.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.