Clatsop County reported a third coronavirus case on Friday, a man in the southern part of the county who was in contact with another man who tested positive for the virus.
The county described the man as between 35 and 54 years old. The other man was also in the same age range.
A woman between 35 and 54 years old who lives in the northern part of the county was the first reported local case of the virus.
The county said all three people are at home under quarantine.
“Following reports of positive COVID-19 tests, public health staff move immediately according to the department’s established case investigative process to contact the individuals in order to gather information on others they have had contact with, and in turn to contact those people about self-quarantine guidelines,” the county said in a statement.
“Department staff check twice daily with positive-case contacts to ensure they are properly self-isolating.”
The Oregon Health Authority tracked 72 test results in Clatsop County as of Friday morning, including two of the positive cases.
The health authority reported 414 cases and 12 deaths from the virus statewide as of Friday.
Earlier this week, at the direction of Gov. Kate Brown, the health authority started to provide more detailed demographic information to the public on coronavirus cases. Ages, for example, are now disclosed in 10-year ranges, a narrower window to measure the people most affected by the disease.
Michael McNickle, Clatsop County’s public health director, on Friday declined a request by The Astorian to provide narrower age ranges for the three local cases so far. All three have been described by the county as people between 35 and 54 years old.
McNickle cited privacy concerns as the reason.
“We feel it is unnecessary to do so, and in this small community, more detailed information about a patient’s age may lead to patient identification, which is a violation of their privacy,” he said in an email.
Brown told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday that she ordered the Oregon Health Authority to share “all COVID-19 information with the public that does not compromise patient privacy.”
That includes more exact age ranges of patients, hospitalization status and the number of available hospital beds and ventilators for virus patients. A potential shortage of ventilators has emerged as a critical issue for treating virus patients who require hospitalization.
The health authority reported that, as of Friday, there were 715 available ventilators in Oregon. Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones has said there are about 25 ventilators in Clatsop County, roughly divided between Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria and Providence Seaside Hospital.
Legislators, journalists and others had asked the state repeatedly for better data to track the virus. The health authority had been releasing cumulative data from Jan. 24, plus daily updates on confirmed cases, testing and deaths.
Dick Hughes of the Oregon Capital Bureau contributed to this report.