Douglas County reported 20 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the number of total cases to 107.

The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team said the increase has been linked to an outbreak at the Norris Farms, which has to date reported 22 cases with positive tests. That figure may also include household members and other close contacts of those workers.

It’s by far the largest number of cases reported in a single day since the first case was reported in the county March 8.

“Today serves as a wake-up call for everyone in Douglas County,” said Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman in response to the sharp rise in cases. “This virus is still very active, and it’s in Douglas County.”

Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said he’s certain that the risk of the outbreak to the public is low.

“This is an unfortunate situation and we will continue to work closely with Norris Farms,” he said in a press release.

Dannenhoffer also said the increase in positive tests at Norris Farms is not totally unexpected because many workers come from other states, some of which are hot spots for COVID-19 cases.

Paul Norris, owner of Norris Farms in Umpqua, said he’s been doing preemptive testing throughout the season.

“To date, we’ve probably run 400 tests on people,” Norris said.

Most of his workers have been in the county for several months and have been regulars every summer, some for the past 14 years.

Having so many in isolation has taken a big chunk of his workforce, but he continues to pay them.

“We have 32 pickers isolated, sitting in a motel room for two weeks, we’re paying them to stay put,” he said. “These people deserve our support. They are hardworking people so we’re not going to abandon them.”

Test results on several of those who are isolated have not yet been returned, but Norris is hopeful they will come back negative.

Norris has been able to keep the blueberry operation going through all the COVID-19 restrictions and the packing barn has remained clear of any positive cases.

“We’re screening everyone in the packing facility and the one case we had about five weeks ago, took 13 people out as contacts, and they’ve all been cleared and they’re OK.”

Norris is hoping he will get some good news soon on those that are in isolation. Those workers that had to be isolated, he said, have been very compliant.

“We are doing more testing, we monitor their temperature every day, do a health questionnaire every day, hand washing, masks, shields, we have three people working full-time sanitizing the facility right behind everyone, we’re doing the things we’re supposed to do, we’re trying to do everything we can,” Norris said.

Norris said they are getting close to the end of the season which will likely be cut a little short because of the coronavirus.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

Reporter

Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

(30) comments

Mike

Norris Blueberry Farm now up to 27 cases per the OHA.

mworden

The Ietter that you're referring to on the Norris BIueberry Farm website is dated severaI days before the Iatest cases were diagnosed. In other words, both the Norris Ietter and the NR story couId have been accurate when written because they are dated days apart. DetaiIs matter.

Tatting22

This article in the News Review is not even close to being accurate according to a letter I received directly from the Norris family. You are blowing this way out of perportion with conflicting numbers. This is a direct link to the Norris Farm letter, if you're interested in reading the truth. www.norrisblueberryfarms.com

Country Craftsman

The government has no magic wand do not look to them for a solution to this virus. The government is made up of people they are not your saviour. If people don't like opening up the country by all means stay home. I hope everyone understands that we as a country must work to process goods and services. There is no warehouse full of food and goods to out last any virus. There are well over 100,000 people in Douglas county and more will get this virus. But you can not shut down the country. If you want to truly see problems in are country stop the flow of food and goods. Life is a risk go live it as you see fit stop telling everyone else how to live because they have filled you with fear.

Mike

Douglas County Public Health Network just reported 6 more new coronavirus cases today in their noon update email (below link) which falsely states, “Our newest positives test results have been directly linked to travel outside Douglas County, and especially those residents that have chosen to travel outside of Oregon,” and doesn’t say ANYTHING about the Norris Blueberry Farm outbreak. DPHN blames 26 cases in the last two days on travel???

http://douglaspublichealthnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/07-24-2020-DCCRT-NOON-CASE-DAILY-UPDATE-COVID-19.pdf

Mike

Douglas County Commissioners knew about Norris Blueberry Farm workplace outbreak spiraling out of control for over a week and didn’t say ANYTHING. According to the Oregon Health Authority weekly report (below link), the investigation of Norris Blueberry Farm by Douglas County Public Health Network began on JUNE 25, nearly a month ago when their first two coronavirus cases were confirmed. Norris Blueberry Farm then confirmed seven more cases by July 15.

Our County Commissioners only announced the outbreak at Norris Blueberry Farm on July 22 after realizing the OHA was publishing a report that day declaring Norris Blueberry Farm an outbreak. By that time the outbreak had spread to 22 cases that we know of and probably a lot more.

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Emerging%20Respitory%20Infections/COVID-19-Weekly-Report-2020-07-22-FINAL.pdf

Mike

If an outbreak occurs at a workplace but is not announced to the public, workers and customers may unknowingly patronize that business and become exposed to the virus. This possible threat to health and safety, and the knowledge that one or two serious outbreaks could overwhelm our hospitals behooves improved transparency by Douglas County Commissioners.

“Recognizing the critical need for transparency during a pandemic, the Oregon Health Authority in late May started to publicly report workplace outbreaks that involve five or more cases.” The same should apply to our Douglas County Commissioners.

Angelfish

You people are out of control. Stop shutting down the county. For the love of all things, there was an outbreak at a blueberry farm where people came from out of town and internationally. Of course covid is in Douglas County. It's all over the world. If you dont want to go outside your house for fear of catching covid, THEN STAY IN YOUR HOUSE. I am an adult who can make my own decisions and dont need the governor shutting things down. If I want to go to Casey's restaurant, then I will. The media lies. Ever notice how they can never get the numbers straight or they say, 'Douglas County has one death - BUT ITS IN TEXAS? Give me a break. Mike, get a life and stay inside. Stop ruining my life over your overblown fear of covid. Wear a mask, wash your hands. You can't stop life from happening.

Mike

Please point to where I'm ruining your life. You appear to have no problem telling other people how to live their lives. Here's my advice....stop reading my comments.

Angelfish

It's super hard when you spam the comments section with tens of comments.

Mike

And THAT is the part that is ruining your life? I can only imagine how your life is ruined when you drive in heavy traffic, having to avoid hitting all that moving spam.

Neutralcomment

“Today serves as a wake-up call for everyone in Douglas County," said Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman in response to the sharp rise in cases. "This virus is still very active, and it’s in Douglas County."

The guidance has been the same since the beginning and you guys spent your time downplaying it and prioritizing opening up the government.

You guys were applauding and contributing to Caseys opening up early. The absolute lack of ethical and responsible leadership is going to cost us live.

Vote all of them out.

CitizenJoe

“'Today serves as a wake-up call for everyone in Douglas County,' said Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman in response to the sharp rise in cases." Yeah, well, our County Commissioners hit the snooze button repeatedly. Vote them out next opportunity.

Momos

"Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said he's certain that the risk of the outbreak to the public is low."

Explain how a major outbreak presents a low risk to the community. Science disagrees.

Mike

Overwhelmed Texas hospital must choose who's "sent home to die" amid pandemic.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/hospital-must-choose-whos-sent-home-to-die-amid-pandemic/ar-BB177kBH?li=BBnb7Kz

Mike

Roseburg Veterans Affairs just reported another new coronavirus case, making it number 15 overall. The graph for the Roseburg VA looks like the Douglas County graph... exponential.

https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/Healthcare/COVID19NationalSummary

Mike

Nice graph. Keep in mind our County Commissioners re-opened Douglas County on June 5 and it takes a week before people start showing symptoms and they go get tested. Pretty much when the graph starts taking off.

Poor choice Boice.

S

Douglas County is not short on idiots . . . especially those who reside in the corner offices on the 2nd floor of the Courthouse. You knew this was coming. It could be Norris or RFP or the Casino. . .but keep supporting the GOP and idiot in the Oval Office and we'll all be a statistic before long.

Mike

The Oregon Health Authority's latest coronavirus projections predict that, based on the current rate of cases, the state will have 1,600 new confirmed infections a day by mid-August.

https://www.nrtoday.com/ap/projections-virus-cases-could-reach-1-600-a-day-in-august/article_fbb3fe40-27e1-50db-9cf6-184304b0c7c2.html

Mike

Douglas County Commissioner Freeman said, “today serves as a wakeup call.” Never mind we’ve had 31 coronavirus cases over just the last week and 83 cases since the Commissioners decided to re-open Douglas County. If “today serves as a wakeup call,” how many more cases must we have before our Commissioners actually start doing something about it?

Mike

If its a wake-up call, when are Douglas County Commissioners going to wake up and close the county campgrounds, parks and boat ramps to slow the increase in cases? How many County residents need be infected before the Commissioners take action? Do more people need to die first?

Buligajo

Same post just add a number blah blah blah. It wouldn’t be bad if you didn’t blame Dannenhoffer for lying or the commissioners for doing what every other commissioners in the state and country did. Find some better material this has gotten oooollldddd! I’ll take the over on a response me thinks someone is a conspiracy theorist.

Buligajo

100% that the commissioners get mentioned or blamed. Haha

Neutralcomment

Them downplaying this at the beginning instead of getting out front and convincing people to take this seriously has already resulted in death. It will result in more. They deserve to catch some of the blame for it coming here.

Mike

Douglas County residents ONLY know Norris Blueberry Farm is a workplace outbreak because the Oregon Health Authority reported it yesterday (below link). Our Douglas County Commissioners knew Norris Blueberry Farm was an outbreak since 9 cases were confirmed 8 DAYS AGO on July 15. Yet the Commissioners didn’t report the outbreak until just yesterday when the OHA report came out. They knew about it for over a week and didn't say anything.

In fact, our County Commissioners have known Norris Blueberry Farm may be an outbreak since the investigation by Douglas County Public Health Network began nearly a month ago on JUNE 25. If OHA had not reported Norris Blueberry Farm as a workplace outbreak, our County Commissioners would probably never have reported it to us residents.

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Emerging%20Respitory%20Infections/COVID-19-Weekly-Report-2020-07-22-FINAL.pdf

Mike

Douglas County Public Health Network actually reported a record 15 new coronavirus cases today. DPHN reported 92 total coronavirus cases yesterday and 107 today. Most can do the math. DPHN has now reported 31 new cases over the past week which is also a new record.

While the Oregon Health Authority reported Norris Blueberry Farm workplace outbreak reached 22 total cases, it is unclear how many are being reported in Douglas County because DPHN ONLY includes cases that live in the Douglas County. Norris Blueberry Farm has stated (below link) they employ “out of the area” workers. Norris Blueberry Farm also stated 12 people had been isolated because they had been riding in the same vehicle as one of the positive cases. It’s possible zero of the Norris Blueberry Farm cases are being reported by DPHN if they all live outside Douglas County. It’s also possible multiple Norris Blueberry Farm workers could die from coronavirus and it would never be reported by DPHN if the people did not live in Douglas County.

http://www.nrtoday.com/news/health/coronavirus/norris-blueberry-farm-works-to-stop-covid-spread/article_0b6c4fcc-9961-5596-b0f4-ba4bc975c9a6.html

Positive test rate is the percentage of total tests that are positive and indicates whether coronavirus is increasing or decreasing in a community. 36 days ago, Douglas County’s positive test rate was zero. Today, Douglas County’s 7-day rolling average positive test rate is a record high 4.2%.

The six counties surrounding Douglas County reported 54 new coronavirus cases today and a record 238 new cases over the past week. The six counties surrounding Douglas County have now reported a total of 1,024 coronavirus cases, not counting Douglas County’s 107 cases.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 367 new coronavirus cases today and 2 more deaths in Oregon.

The OHA reported 17.9% of Oregon’s 5,825 total ICU and non-ICU hospital beds are available today.

The below link provides graphical views of Oregon’s statistics.

https://projects.oregonlive.com/coronavirus/

mst

Over-under on the number of comments Mike will post is at 15. The safe bet is the over.

Mike

I'll take that bet. How much?

Mike

I must be on to something. The Commissioners certainly have their trolls out on the attack. They criticize and obfuscate, but never provide an argument. That pretty much verifies everything I allege is true.

mst

Just a few more posts, and I'm in the money!

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