Coronavirus_NIH.jpg

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab. (Courtesy of NIAID-RML)

Update on Saturday, March 21: A woman in her 70s is the fourth person in Lane County to test positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, Lane County Public Health announced Saturday evening.

The individual has been hospitalized at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center since March 19 and was tested the same day, according to a press release from LCPH.

The woman has a history of domestic travel, and LCPH said they are investigating whether she had contact with any community members and will contact anyone who may have been exposed.

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A third person in Lane County, a Eugene 4J school district bus driver, has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, Lane County Public Health announced at a press briefing Saturday afternoon. 

The individual, a man in his 50s living in the Eugene-Springfield area, is in good health and medically stable at home, LCPH spokesperson Jason Davis said.

The man may have had contact with up to 300 children on bus rides between March 10 and 11, but that contact was not enough to be considered exposure to the virus, which Davis defined as spending at least an hour within six feet of someone with the coronavirus.

LCPH has been reaching out to the families of approximately 240 4J children out of an “abundance of caution,” Davis said.

“We are not aware of any children who have symptoms at this time,” Davis said. 

However, there are still four days left of the two-week incubation period, so Davis said they have recommended that these families self-isolate for four more days. He said that the children are not considered at high risk of contracting COVD-19.

“We are confident that we have a comprehensive list of potential children that may have been exposed,” he said. But Davis said that because there are additional children who may have taken this individual’s bus route, there may have been up to 300 contacts.  

Davis said that the contact happened after schools were already taking extra sanitary precautions, and bus drivers sit away from the children and don’t touch the doors or seats. He also said that, though the individual did not have “direct contact with other 4J employees,” LCPH notified the individual’s work to be cautious.

LCPH believes the man was exposed through domestic travel between Feb. 27 and March 3, Davis said. He had a cough before traveling, but “the cough changed” and became productive, meaning it produced mucus, and he developed a fever that lasted until March 6. His cough continued, and his fever continued to go up and down for the next 10 days. He was tested March 17.

This case is one of 23 positive COVID-19 tests that the Oregon Health Authority announced Saturday morning, bringing the total of known COVID-19 cases in Oregon to 137. 

OHA also announced the fourth suspected COVID-19 death, a 72-year-old woman in Marion County who tested positive on March 15 and died March 20.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a developing story. Watch the Emerald’s coverage for the latest updates.

Associate News Editor

Gina is an associate news editor for the Daily Emerald. She used to cover crime and courts and loves a public record. Send tips and pictures of puppies: gscalpone@dailyemerald.com