COVID-19 workplace outbreak reported at Roseburg Forest Products

IAN CAMPBELL The News-Review

A workplace outbreak has been reported at Roseburg Forest Products, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

In its weekly report, released on Wednesdays, the state said the company was connected to 5 total coronavirus cases, meeting the state’s threshold for a workplace outbreak.

A workplace outbreak is reported by the state when a business has five or more cases — both confirmed and presumptive — and includes all persons linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts. Even those who test negative for the virus but were once considered presumptive continue to count toward the workplace’s total case number until a 28-day period has passed without a new case.

John Myers, the director of environmental health and safety at Roseburg Forest Products, said an employee at the Riddle plywood plant tested positive for the virus on Sept. 10. Myers said the company quarantined the worker and began working with the Douglas Public Health Network and OHA to perform contact tracing. 

“The team member has since recovered, been released by OHA, and returned to work,” Myers said in a prepared statement.

At the company’s engineered wood facility in Riddle, an employee and their spouse tested positive and are currently in quarantine. No other employees from either plant have tested positive as of Wednesday afternoon, Myers said.

“The safety of our team members and our communities is paramount, and (Roseburg Forest Products) will continue to do all we can to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Myers said.

The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team, in its daily report, said the county did not have any new cases to report, but that a presumptive case had tested positive for the virus. There are now 221 total cases, with 195 positive and 26 presumptive cases. Four people remain in the hospital and 33 are in isolation.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing daily COVID case counts on the rise in our county,” the response team said in a press release. “The most recent cases all point to unwitting and presumably unintentional behavior by these residents attending or hosting social gatherings were COVID-19 guidelines for social distancing, food preparation, hand washing and masks are not being followed. So, again we need to take a moment and revisit how we are socializing and protecting ourselves from the spread of this virus. Stopping the increase of COVID-19 cases in our county is really up to YOU, our residents.”

Since the beginning of Labor Day weekend, county COVID-19 cases have increased nearly 23%, from 180 to 221.

“We continue to identify people with positive test results that have chosen to travel out of Oregon to visit relatives or to take vacations,” the team said. “While traveling, those individuals and families have come in contact with someone with COVID-19 and brought it back to Douglas County. We have expanded our list of states directly related to our cases though travel, they include Alaska, Washington, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and Wyoming.”

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