Computer-generated model of the COVID-19 coronavirus

Wallowa County's first in-county case of COVID-19 was confirmed by Wallowa Memorial Hospital this morning. The patient is isolated at home while they recover, and does not require hospitalization.

The hospital's press release, in full, follows.

Wallowa Memorial Hospital Announces Wallowa County’s First Positive COVID Case

Wallowa Memorial Hospital announces our first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19 infection) here in Wallowa County. This patient is not hospitalized and remains isolated while they recover. The person was exposed OUTSIDE of our county, but was tested here. Confidentiality remains paramount, and no additional information about this patient will be released to the public. The state public health department is currently notifying and investigating any recent contacts of this patient. We are testing known contacts for the COVID-19 infection as indicated.

“Our extensive planning for this moment paid off. Our systems and processes worked. We properly protected our staff, they are healthy and continue to work.” says Dr. Gary Zeigler, attending physician. Dr. Elizabeth Powers, Chief Medical Officer remarked, “We are all thinking of this person and hoping for a swift recovery.”

Health officials continue to urge all Oregonians to take steps to protect those who are most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.

Those considered “high risk” include adults 60 and older, or anyone with a serious health condition, including lung or heart problems, kidney disease, or diabetes, or anyone who has a suppressed immune system.

People vulnerable to complications should follow federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to stay home as much as possible and avoid gatherings.

Every resident should take these basic steps to protect those most at risk:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

• Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

• Stay home if you feel ill.

The COVID-19 virus spreads like the flu, when someone who is sick coughs or sneezes close to another person (close means about six feet).

After someone contracts COVID-19, illness usually develops within 14 days. Symptoms mirror those of the flu, including fever, cough, runny nose, headache, sore throat and general feelings of illness. That has made it more difficult for health officials to identify sick individuals and stop the virus from spreading. Testing for COVID infection remains accessible here in Wallowa County. Please reach out to your primary care provider if you have symptoms of infection and need information or advice. Remember you can call the Wallowa County COVID-19 hot line that will answer many of your questions at 541-426-5475.

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