An out-of-state resident who was “temporarily in the area for essential employment” has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Umatilla County Public Health press release.

The individual is self-isolating and recovering, the release said, but officials again chose not to release the individual’s age range, sex or where they work in the county. The department has stated it’s limiting the demographic information it releases in order to protect patient privacy.

County health officials are notifying and assessing individuals believed to have come within close contact to the individual.

“The investigation thus far does not indicate that the general public in Umatilla County is at an elevated risk of exposure due to this case,” the release said.

Because they are an out-of-state resident, the individual will not be counted in the county’s or state’s data on COVID-19 cases. According to Umatilla County Public Health, five residents have tested positive out of the 150 tests that have been conducted on samples from Umatilla County.

Later Tuesday, the health department sent out a second release, stating that so far Umatilla County's positive cases have all been in different communities within the county.

“Each of the cases has been in a different town so no population center is really exempt and there is no area of Umatilla County where it isn’t important to follow the guidelines," the release stated.

Joe Fiumara, the department's director, said the county's most recent cases have had a shorter list of people to notify of possible exposure, suggesting that many people in the county are following social distancing guidelines. 

The public health department stated in its news release that the state is “still in the middle of a severe cold and flu season” and as such, not everyone with respiratory symptoms needs to be tested. Patients can be tested at the discretion of their health care provider after other illnesses, such as influenza and pneumonia, have been ruled out.

Anyone experiencing symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should call their primary care provider first to discuss next steps.

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