A person who knowingly went to work while sick likely led to the COVID-19 deaths of 7 people and forced more than 300 people into quarantine, health officials say

Kelly McLaughlin
·2 min read
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  • Health officials in Douglas County, Oregon, said last week that one person who went to work sick with COVID-19 caused two outbreaks of the virus.

  • Officials said that at least seven people died from COVID-19 as a result of the person going to work, and at least 300 people were forced to quarantine. 

  • Officials referred to the person's decision to go to work as a "superspreader action."

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A person living in southern Oregon knowingly went to work while sick, and likely caused seven people to die from COVID-19 and forced more than 300 people into quarantine, health officials said.

Douglas County officials said last week that the person had "unwittingly and unconsciously" chose to go to work while sick, and later tested positive for COVID-19.

It's unclear exactly when the the person went to work or where they are employed, but Douglas County officials said in a December 17 statement that the action led to two major COVID-19 outbreaks.

"One of those outbreaks has resulted in seven deaths, and the other recent outbreak has placed over 300 people/families in quarantine," the statement said. "We can't even imagine the tremendous remorse these people are feeling right now, and we sympathize with them."

Officials referred to the person's decision to go to work as a "superspreader action" - a take on the term "superspreader event" that can be used to refer to weddings and other large gatherings during which COVID-19 can spread.

Douglas County, which has a population of just u under 111,000, has had 1,323 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, and 37 deaths from the virus.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown recently encouraged residents to stay home for the holidays.

"As you did with Thanksgiving, I am asking once again that you rethink your Christmas and New Years plans," she said at a news conference, according to Oregon Live.

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