By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Linfield COVID outbreak involves exempted students

Linfield University says it believes a recent outbreak of COVID-19 that infected 21 students last week is now under control.

One person at the university said they had heard “through the grapevine” that the outbreak was related to a party students had attended. University spokesman Scott Nelson said told the News-Register “None of the students has mentioned a party to our staff.”

County Health and Human Services Director Lindsey Manfrin concurred.

“There does not appear to be one event that related to cases at Linfield. Instead, it seems that there are multiple smaller outbreaks. We are working closely with Linfield,” she said.

Nelson told the News-Register, “As we have worked through the contact-tracing process, it’s clear it is related to a small number of unvaccinated students and their roommates or other household contacts. (These are students who had applied for and received exemptions to our vaccine-mandate policy.)”

This week, Nelson said, “our numbers of positive cases are declining — as we would expect. We have tested or are testing the contacts according to the Yamhill County Public Health authority recommendations. The positive cases have been placed in isolation housing. The unvaccinated students who were in contact with someone who tested positive also have been placed in quarantine housing. The vaccinated students who were in contact with someone who tested positive have been placed on a COVID testing schedule.”

However, Nelson said, “Linfield’s total case counts have remained very, very low for the past 14 months. Here, as elsewhere in higher education, there have been no cases transmitted through classroom contact or academic settings. Students, faculty and staff have largely been good about following the protocols. It’s also noteworthy that Linfield remains an island of high vaccination rates amidst a county with far lower rates. More than 94% of Linfield’s community is vaccinated.”

Yamhill County reported a new death on Wednesday, bringing the county’s total to date to 109 deaths.

A 55-year-old woman who tested positive on Sept. 15 died on Sept. 28 at Willamette Valley Medical Center. She had underlying conditions.

Yamhill County reported 28 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to date to 8,490.

There have been 4,117 deaths from COVID-19 statewide since the pandemic began.

September was the deadliest month to date for the pandemic in Oregon, and deaths continued to increase last week. The Oregon Health Authority reported there were 179 reported COVID-19 related deaths, up from 114 reported the previous week. This was the highest weekly death toll since the week of Jan. 11–17, it said.

Deaths have increased in Yamhill County, as well, with four reported last week.

“Each one is a tragic loss,” Manfrin told the News-Register. “Sadly increased deaths is what is typical and expected when we have a surge of cases followed by a surge in hospitalizations. The next thing that often happens is an increase in deaths. As cases and hospitalizations have decreased we are hopeful that deaths will as well.”

The OHA said overall cases continued to decline. The state reported 9,022 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 10, a 13% decrease from the previous week and the sixth consecutive week of declining case counts. New hospitalizations also continued to decline, although hospital bed space remains in short supply, if less desperate than a few weeks ago.

The OHA continues to warn that emergency departments are under strain, and people should not seek testing for COVID-19 there.

Testing sites are offered through the county and at many pharmacies.

The OHA reported 148 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings, with three or more confirmed cases and one or more COVID-19 related deaths. It does not report outbreaks at smaller sites such as adult foster homes.

It reported outbreaks at the following long-term care homes in Yamhill County:

- Friendsview Retirement Community in Newberg, nine cases, first reported Aug. 3.

- Prestige Post-Acute and Rehabilitation Center in McMinnville, 33 cases and two deaths, first reported on Aug. 23.

- Arbor Oaks Terrace Memory Care in Newberg, four cases, first reported Sept. 7.

- Brookdale Newberg in Newberg, nine cases, first reported Sept. 7.

- Marquis Newberg in Newberg, 12 cases, first reported Sept. 9.

- Chehalem Health and Rehab Center in Newberg, 26 cases and one death, first reported Sept. 27.

The OHA also reports workplace outbreaks, with five or more cases and only for workplaces with at least 30 workers.

Only one remains active in Yamhill County: the Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution, 161 cases.

OHA reports child care outbreaks with two or more cases in childcare settings with the capacity for more than 16 students. Care for Kids in McMinnville has seen nine cases. Investigation began Sept. 17; most recent onset was Sept. 15.

School case reports within the last 28 days included:

- McMinnville High School, nine students, most recent onset Oct. 6.

- Newberg High School, five students, most recent onset Oct. 6.

- Patton Middle School in McMinnville, two students, most recent onset Oct. 4.

- Dayton Grade School, one student, one staff member or volunteer, most recent onset Oct. 4.

- Amity High School, nine students, most recent onset Oct. 3.

- Yamhill Carlton High School in Yamhill, five students, most recent onset Oct. 3.

- Faulconer-Chapman School in Sheridan, eight students, one staff member or volunteer, most recent onset Oct. 2.

- Mountain View Middle School in Newberg, four students, most recent onset Oct. 2.

- Sheridan High School, two students, most recent onset Oct. 2.

- Amity Elementary School, one student, most recent onset Oct. 1.

- Edwards Elementary School in Newberg, six students, one staff member or volunteer, most recent onset Sept. 30.

- Memorial Elementary School in McMinnville, one student, two staff members or voluteers, most recent onset Sept. 30.

- Dayton Junior High School, two students, most recent onset Sept. 29.

- C.S. Lewis Academy in Newberg, one student, most recent onset Sept. 28.

- Duniway Middle School in McMinnville, four students, most recent onset Sept. 27.

- Wascher Elementary School in Lafayette, one student, most recent onset Sept. 27.

- Ewing Young Elementary School in Newberg, five students, most recent onset Sept. 25.

- Joan Austin Elementary School in Newberg, one student, most recent onset Sept. 25

- Antonia Crater Elementary School in Newberg, three students and two staff members or volunteers, most recent onset Sept. 24.

- Grandhaven Elementary School in McMinnville, two students, most recent onset Sept. 24.

- Dayton High School, two students, most recent onset Sept. 23.

- Yamhill-Carlton Intermediate School in Yamhill, two students, most recent onset Sept. 23.

- Amity Middle School, one student, most recent onset Sept. 23.

- Newby Elementary School in McMinnville, one student, most recent onset Sept. 23.

- Perrydale School in Amity, five students and three staff members or volunteers, most recent onset Sept. 22.

- Willamina School District, four students, most recent onset Sept. 20.

- Columbus Elementary School in McMinville, one student, most recent onset Sept. 18.

- Sue Buel Elementary School in McMinnville, one student, most recent onset Sept. 16.

Comments

jane

Of the 21 students, I would like to know how many were unvaccinated. When they say "related to a small number of unvaccinated students and their roommates or other household contacts" are they stating that all 21 were unvaxed?