Oregon authorities link 2 deadly outbreaks to one person

By Harmeet Kaur | CNN

Oregon officials say a “superspreader action” is likely behind two recent Covid-19 outbreaks in the state.

The action in question: A person deliberately went to work while ill and later tested positive for the virus, Douglas County officials said last week.

Two separate Covid-19 outbreaks have now been traced back to that person, officials said. Seven people died as a result of the first outbreak, and hundreds of people were forced to isolate themselves over the second.

“One of these outbreaks has resulted in seven deaths, and the other recent outbreak has quarantined more than 300 people / families,” a Dec. 17 statement from Douglas County said. “We can not even imagine the enormous remorse these people are feeling right now and we have sympathy for them.”

County officials described the incident as a “superspreader action” and called it “one of the most relevant issues we face right now.” It is a twist on the term “superspreader event” that refers to large personal gatherings such as weddings, parties or religious services where the presence of an infected person has the potential to incite a viral outbreak.

They also encouraged people to stay home if they experience symptoms and follow other safety protocols.

Officials did not share the workplace of the infected person or when they went to work while they were sick.

Douglas County, located in southern Oregon and having a population of about 111,000, has seen 1,315 cases totaling Covid-19 as of Tuesday. This includes people who have tested positive for the virus, as well as people who are thought to be positive.

Thirty-seven people have died from Covid-19 in the county, and nine patients are currently hospitalized with the virus, the latest county data shows.

Last week, Douglas County was among 29 counties in Oregon that state officials considered to be at “extreme risk” over the spread of the virus.

Oregon has registered about 105,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 1,300 deaths since Tuesday, and infections have been rising since November.