SPRINGFILED, Ore. -- As coronavirus has entered our state, local health officials are revamping their approach to the virus, preparing for it just like they would for a natural disaster.
Infectious disease specialist Harry Scholtz at McKenzie Willamette Medical Center said that while they're cautious, there is no reason to panic yet.
“We have been trying to maintain a really high level of suspicion," said Scholtz. "So we want people to tell us immediately if they’re having symptoms like fever which is usually a temperature higher than 101 degrees, cough, or shortness of breath since these are the most common symptoms."
Health officials also said we're fortunate to have testing available in our state to confirm coronavirus.
But even so, all the cases Oregon has confirmed will be labeled presumed positive until they can be tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
There are three classifications of novel coronavirus: confirmed, presumptive, and suspected, but they also said its a virus like thousands of others and can be mild or even asymptomatic to the point that you don't even know you have it and it just goes away on its own.
“We may have had a mild or asymptomatic case pass through Lane County or come back from somewhere and is now here and they’re cured of their condition but they had it for a time,” said senior public health officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke.
He said this is a virus like thousands of others and while as many as 70 percent of people could be at risk of contracting the virus, he expects at most that a few hundred people would need to be hospitalized for COVID-19 in Lane County.
So far no one in Lane County has been tested for coronavirus and both McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center and PeaceHealth have said they don't believe they have any suspicious cases at their hospitals.