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Two Oregonians share Italy experiences during coronavirus outbreak

One woman lives part-time in Italy and is staying there during the pandemic. The other was visiting and left early to come back to the U.S.

PORTLAND, Oregon — It's been a very tough few weeks for Italy. But the country is finally showing signs of some improvement. University of Oregon professors Melissa Graboyes and Alfredo Burlando live part-time in Italy with their two daughters.  Melissa is relieved that the death rate is starting to drop.

“It's a small decrease but it's a meaningful decrease because it's coming 14 days after we started home quarantine across the entire country which fits with the model that Wuhan followed and they saw a decrease in the rate of new cases in about 12 to 14 days,” said Graboyes.

Melissa and family have been self-quarantined since before the government demanded it of everyone in Italy.

Meanwhile back in the United States, former Portland TV journalist Elaine Murphy and her husband are self-quarantined after returning from Italy nearly two weeks ago. With Rome shutting down all around them, they managed to leave early. They expected a health screening after landing at Los Angeles International Airport, instead, there was no screening or coronavirus communication.

Credit: Elaine Murphy

“We weren't even told that we should self-quarantine, nothing was ever said. We didn't have to fill out any paperwork. We didn't have our temperature taken we were just turned loose into the world,” said Murphy, who has been suffering from a sore throat that she does not believe to be COVID-19 related.

Friends have been helping out during their self-imposed quarantine, even catering her husband Gary's birthday dinner.  

“Since we've been in quarantine, they've really been taking care of us, doing store runs and dropping off food, and it's nice to have good friends like that,” said Murphy.

Back in northern Italy, Melissa Graboyes and family have managed to avoid the virus, and will stay put; they’re not due to return to Oregon until August. Her husband Alfredo is a native Italian.  Both his parents and brother have contracted the coronavirus but are doing OK and have not needed hospitalization. Her advice for all of us is to do what they've been doing.

“Good luck and follow the orders strictly. Staying home means stay home; don't go outside, don't have contact with others.”

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