Klamath County Public Health reported four new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and that it will only announce new cases Monday through Friday.
The four new COVID cases bring Klamath County’s total to 122 cases, with 70 of them being active. According to a KCPH news release, OHA redefined recoveries as cases older than 60 days. As of Tuesday morning, 5,085 tests have been processed from Klamath County, according to KCPH.
KCPH also announced Tuesday that it will no longer release new cases over the weekend, but will still conduct contact tracing within 24 hours of public health being notified of a positive test.
“Reliable estimates, based on the behavior of other viruses, suggest that COVID-19 will be part of our lives for at least another 18 months to two years,” said KCPH Director Jennifer Little in a news release. “We often announce local cases before Oregon Health Authority. Moving to a schedule of announcements during the work week builds a sustainable framework going forward.”
KCPH spokesperson Valeree Lane addressed the discrepancy between public health announcements of new COVID cases in Klamath County and the Oregon Health Authority daily updates.
“Oregon Health Authority runs its daily numbers at 12:01 a.m. each day; by the time we start work in the morning there can be new cases that OHA didn’t catch in its early morning run,” Lane said in an email to the H&N. “We believe announcing cases as we know they exist is the most transparent way to provide information to the community. At times we’ve been up to three days ahead of OHA, but the numbers always balance in time.”
As daily counts have also reintroduced presumptive cases to the reports, Lane said the definition of presumptive cases has also changed. Where initially presumptive cases were positive tests from state labs that hadn’t been confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control, now presumptive cases are those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are displaying symptoms, but have not been tested.
Lane said even if that person is eventually tested, the case will not be double counted.
“In some cases, the person is later tested. In others, they are not. The thought is that exposure and symptoms result in a positive case,” said Lane. “Even if the person is tested, the case is not double counted.
“For some people who might have difficulty obtaining a test, because some counties don’t have the same resources and access as Klamath County, it doesn’t make sense to confirm a presumptive case. They are ill and have been exposed to COVID-19, so the pragmatic call is that they have the virus.”
Even with this latest update, Lane acknowledged that things are changing so often, even with reporting methods.
Lane said KCPH has also been receiving a lot of calls from people with questions about Governor Kate Brown’s mask mandate, which goes into effect Wednesday requiring masks in indoor spaces statewide. She encouraged those with questions to call public health at (541) 882-8846, saying, “We are here to serve the community and help where we can.”