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Records may have been accessed in Multnomah County Health Department break-in

The thieves physically broke in and stole a laptop, cell phones and personal items. The thieves also had access to rooms where printed patient records were stored.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Multnomah County Health Department is warning some employees and clients that some of their personal information may have been accessed during a break-in last month.

A person physically broke into the department's downtown headquarters over the weekend of February 18, the county said in a Friday news release. Monday, Feb. 20 was a holiday, so the break-in was not discovered until the next day.

The county notified the Portland Police Bureau and launched an investigation that same day. A county laptop, employee personal items and new client cellphones awaiting distribution were all taken, according to the news release. Portland police arrested a suspect on Wednesday, the county said. 

During the break-in, the thief had access to rooms and offices in the building that contained paper records with client information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and Social Security numbers, the county said. Employee financial and identifying information may also have been accessed.

It is unknown whether the suspect viewed or removed any of the files in question, but the department is notifying potentially impacted individuals out of an abundance of caution. Anyone who may have been impacted should receive a notification letter, the county said.

The potentially impacted clients are patients who receive health care at Multnomah County, according to the news release, but the county does not believe any records from the county STD Clinic, Tuberculosis Clinic or Student Health Centers were affected.

The incident "revealed issues with the security personnel hired to protect the building," the county said, and the "staffing issues" have now been resolved, along with additional training for the workplace security team about how to sweep the building.

The county said it has set up a hotline to answer questions and has arranged for free credit monitoring for people who may have been affected. More information is available here.

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