Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County

[This year's news cycle was a vicious one, and left little time for reflection. As 2020 nears its end, we're taking the opportunity to look back on the most important Mercury stories written during the past year. This article was originally published on March 10, 2020. We hope you'll consider making a monthly contribution to the Mercury to help continue our work into next year and beyond.—eds.]

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.”

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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.