An April Fools’ joke went beyond the family Wednesday as a prank notice about public water contaminated with COVID-19 made it onto social media.

“Someone played a prank on a family member about COVID-19 contaminated water in Winston,” said Landon Rainwater, District Manager of the Winston-Dillard Water District. “I don’t think there was any malicious intent, but it made it onto a social media page and we started getting phone calls about it.”

The fake notice, which warned of an emergency water disruption due to possible “Corona Virus (COVID-19) Contamination,” was posted to the Facebook group Inform Me Douglas County. Once the notice was deemed fake, it was removed from social media.

“The water is 100% safe,” Rainwater said. “Just like any other virus out of the river, we actively remove them during the treatment process. The Winston-Dillard Water Districts water treatment plant system will filter out, or inactivate waterborne pathogens, such as viruses, which prevents them from contaminating the drinking water.”

According to a press release issued by the district, the “current water treatment system meets and exceeds all current water treatment standards, through Membrane Micro-Filtration, Mixed Oxidant Disinfection, and Trojan Ultraviolet disinfection systems.”

Rainwater also confirmed that COVID-19 has not been found in any public drinking water supply.

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at or 541-957-4218.

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Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at or 541-957-4218.

(1) comment


1,027 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus since yesterday. It's not a joke. The number is doubling every three days.

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