PORTLAND, Ore. — Days after refusing to reveal how many people in Oregon are being monitored for the coronavirus, the Oregon Health Authority had a change of heart on Monday.
The agency says starting now, and continuing every Tuesday beginning March 3, OHA will post the number of “persons under monitoring” and “persons under investigation” for coronavirus on its website.
A person under monitoring is someone who does not have symptoms, but who may have been exposed to coronavirus, now called COVID-19, by close contact with a confirmed case or by travel to China. There are currently 76 people under monitoring in Oregon.
A person under investigation is someone with coronavirus symptoms - such as fever, cough or trouble breathing - but not necessarily the virus. There are no people under investigation in Oregon.
To date, there are no cases of coronavirus, now called COVID-19, in Oregon, according to the OHA.
"We recognize people are very worried about COVID-19, particularly given that we don’t know everything we wish we could know about how it’s transmitted," said Lillian Shirley, director of the OHA Public Health Division. "People need to understand their real risks and feel confident the state and their local health departments are working hard to protect their health. We hope sharing these PUM and PUI data will help do that."
If a person under investigation tests positive for coronavirus, the OHA will notify the public and share the person’s county of residence.
How to protect yourself
The OHA shared these everyday actions people can take to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza:
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
- Consult Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the U.S.A.
- Take care of your overall health. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.