Loss of taste and smell could be early sign of coronavirus, experts say

One man who tested positive reported vomiting regularly for a week.

Posted: Mar 27, 2020 7:02 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Lane County Public Health experts are seeing a unique but common symptom in people that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Spokesman Jason Davis said people are losing their sense of taste and smell. Davis said those symptoms are happening before others start to ramp up.

Jeff Rutherford works at a company that cares for elderly people in their homes. He said no one he knows has experienced a loss of taste or smell. But it's good information to keep in mind.

"It's scary for me. I got to keep healthy and do the best I can because I know there is a lot of shortage on health care workers and so I'm just try to do the best I can," Rutherford said.

Other symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Another common symptom Lane County Public Health is seeing is extreme fatigue, Davis said.

He said while there are some common symptoms, others have different experiences. He said one man that tested positive in Lane County was vomiting regularly for a week.

Davis said after someone tests positive for COVID-19, public health and their doctors are notified. From there, public health works to find out more about that person.

They have six investigators, and they start by calling the patient to learn when they started feeling sick. From there, they find out what kind of contact they had with others while they were sick. Davis said they then determine if they need to reach out to any of those people to see if they need to get monitored or tested.

"If we couldn't reach out to those individuals, we would then do a public message," Davis said. "The public message is really contingent on whether or not we can make contact with each individual."

Davis said they have enough investigators right now but have a plan in case they need more. He said they have trained volunteers lined up that can help with the workload.

During Friday's press conference, the mayors of Eugene and Springfield along with the chair of the Lane County Board of Commissioners thanked the public for staying home and saving lives. They said law enforcement is working to educate the public about the governor's executive order.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

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