SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The coronavirus outbreak has brought out the best in many people, with millions in Oregon adhering to an order to stay home and an initiative in Salem to make masks for health-care workers being overwhelmed by volunteers.
In Bend, Oregon, though, a man was charged by a grand jury Friday with allegedly attempting to infect a Bend Police Officer with COVID-19.The man had been arrested on Monday on outstanding warrants and while in the squad car, allegedly told the officer he had COVID-19 and spat and breathed on the officer.
“If anyone in our community takes a shot at infecting, and thus potentially killing, one of our front line heroes, I will use the full authority granted to me by the people of Oregon to hold them accountable,” Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said.
The Oregon Health Authority reported Friday that another person died in Oregon of COVID-19, for a total death toll of 12. The number of people testing positive rose by 98, bringing the state total to 414 . This comes as testing capacity in the state has increased, with more than 7,000 tests administered as of Thursday.
State officials said if infection rates continue, there will be a significant surge in people going to hospitals, with a shortage of personal protective equipment for medical workers.
Officials were meeting on Friday with the Oregon State Medical Examiner for mass fatality planning. No details were immediately available.
Salem Health, which has hospitals in Salem and Dallas, Oregon, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers and other services, said Friday that all of its mask-making kits were distributed on Thursday “due to the incredible response by the community.”
Salem health had expected to distribute more kits on Friday, but cancelled that because the supply was so quickly exhausted.
The public snapped up supplies to make nearly 10,000 masks. So many cars lined up to receive the kits on Thursday at a parking lot of a closed Kmart store that it caused a traffic jam. Dropoffs of completed masks are scheduled to start on Monday.
State health officials said all those who died of the virus were over 60 years old, with three being between 60 and 69, five between 70 and 79, and four aged 80 and over.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.