Oregon authorities announced the state's first presumptive case of (COVID-19) coronavirus on Friday.
In a statement released by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), an adult resident of Washington County started experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 beginning on Feb. 19.
A sample was collected from the patient and sent to the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory in Hillsboro for testing with the new COVID-19 test kit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"We are awaiting confirmation of the test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but at this time we are considering this a presumptive case," said Dean Sidelinger, MD, MSed. "The person in now appropriate isolation and appropriate care."
The patient does not appear to have traveled to any countries with a coronavirus outbreak or have associated with anyone who did. This leads authorities to believe the patient may have caught the disease from someone within the community. The individual is now isolated at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro.
"Our first concern is for this individual, to make sure they're being cared for and is able to recover," said OHA Director Patrick Allen. "Our next priority is finding out who this individual had contact with and make sure they know about their risks, and to let them know how they can get care if they need it. We said this was a fast-moving situation, and that has proved to be true."
Oregon Live reports that the patient lives in Washington County and is an employee at Lake Oswego's Forest Hills Elementary.
Health officials are investigating any potential exposures to students and staff at the school. Employees and families of children who attend the school were contacted and informed of the next steps.
The school district shut down Forest Hills Elementary while it undergoes deep cleaning. There are 25 teachers on staff and about 430 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The school will remain closed until Wednesday, March 4 and all activities were canceled.
OHA officials are recommending that Oregon residents take normal precautions to prevent the spread of any illness, including COVID-19.
*Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
*Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
*Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands.
*Avoid contact with people who are sick.
*Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often.
*Take health precautions, such as staying current on your vaccinations, including the flu vaccine, eat well and exercise to help your body stay strong.
*Review the CDC's travel website for travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the US.
Also, with the new coronavirus cases being reported, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expanding their testing measures in hospitals.
A new policy released on Saturday is allowing hospital labs to use their own testing for the coronavirus to increase the speed of results.
Officials want to assure that testing abides by high standards to prevent false positives.