Douglas County residents whose addresses fall within three local ZIP codes have so far not been reported as having any COVID-19 cases.
As of the Oregon Health Authority’s most recent weekly report published Wednesday, the ZIP codes 97443 in Glide, 97499 in Yoncalla, and 97442 in Glendale have had zero reported cases.
The statistics don’t tell us everything. For example, in ZIP codes with at least one but fewer than 10 cases, the number is just reported as “1-9.” It’s impossible to tell exactly how many cases there are in those areas.
Another limitation of the statistics is they provide no information about whether there have been cases in ZIP codes with very small populations.
Citing concerns about patient privacy, the OHA lumps every ZIP code around the state with fewer than 1,000 people together and reports they collectively have 323 COVID-19 cases. Douglas County has eight ZIP codes — serving Umpqua, Azalea, Days Creek, Diamond Lake, Tiller, Elkton, Scottsburg and Camas Valley — with small enough populations to land in this category.
And in rural areas, ZIP codes don’t always fall where you might expect. A person living closer to Rice Hill or Elkton, for example, could have an Oakland ZIP code.
Still, the OHA’s zip code statistics do offer a partial picture of the spread of COVID-19 in Douglas County.
For example, they show us that two zip codes in Douglas County — both in the Roseburg area — had more than nine cases. The 97470 ZIP code had 12 cases and the 97471 ZIP code had 11 cases.
NineZIP codes had between one and nine cases. These included 97462 in Oakland, 97479 in Sutherlin, 97496 in Winston, 97457 in Myrtle Creek, 97417 in Canyonville, 97469 in Riddle, 97495 in Winchester, 97467 in Reedsport and 97435 in Drain.
Of course, the number of cases countywide and statewide is growing. So this description shows us only a snapshot in time. Things could look very different by next week.
Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman and Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said in an email that areas with lower populations have fewer opportunities for the person-to-person contact through which the virus spreads.
However, they urged caution in interpreting the data.
“At this time, we have no reason to believe that there will not be cases in every zip code in our county,” they said.
There has been a recent surge in cases all around the globe, and county residents are being urged to remain vigilant.
“The coronavirus is still very much alive and continuing to spread. Residents need to keep washing their hands, keep practicing social distancing, staying home if they are sick, seeking medical attention if they are ill and utilize face coverings when out in public,” they said.