49619507592_4ba67c75bb_c.jpg
Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County

An older man is the first to test positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus in Multnomah County.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, the Multnomah County resident who is between 55 and 74 years old is being treated at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He has had no known contact with an already confirmed case of COVID-19 and has not recently visited a country where the virus is already spreading. OHA officials believe the case came from community transmission.

“We are not talking anymore about stopping the spread of this virus,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, the Tri-County health officer for Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties, in a press release. “Without a vaccine and without medicine, our best bet as a community is to slow the spread so those who do get seriously ill can get the care they need from our health system.”

This case has not yet been officially confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which isn't unusual. Thanks to the growing number of cases coming into the CDC, only one of Oregon's other positive 14 COVID-19 cases has been verified with a CDC test.

Vines said she predicts that, as the state's ability to test for COVID-19 increases, so will the number of positive cases. But, she added, “We are not going to isolate and quarantine our way out of this pandemic.”

Support The Portland Mercury

“We are working with our partners on mass gathering guidance, at schools, places where people gather and mix, to spread people out," Vines said.

A OHA press release announcing this case came with some good news: The Oregon State Public Health Lab has received eight additional COVID-19 testing kits from the CDC, which allows up to 4,800 people to be tested.

Yesterday, the Oregon State Legislature also approved $5 million in state funding to support the statewide COVID-19 response.