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Asante Employee Is First Positive Josephine County COVID-19 Case

Depiction of coronavirus

An employee of southern Oregon’s Asante hospital system has tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital employee was the first patient known to contract the virus in Josephine County.

In a statement, Asante officials said confidentiality laws prevent the disclosure of information about the individual who tested positive.  

“We are working closely with our local public health officials to identify any employees, patients and community members who may have had close contact with this person,” the statement reads.

Asante operates the Three Rivers Medical Center in Josephine County. The Josephine County Public Health department will use contact tracing to identify and contact anyone at risk of contracting COVID-19 from the Asante employee.

During a press conference on Friday, Josephine County Public Health Director Michael Weber said they don’t know if the case was acquired from community transmission or if it was contracted from someone traveling outside the county.

Weber said they’ve received 36 negative tests for coronavirus in Josephine County over the past several weeks and they’re awaiting more results.  

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.