Forest Grove couple still stuck in Japan as coronavirus spreads
A Forest Grove woman who tested positive for the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, while on the cruise ship Diamond Princess weeks ago must remain quarantined in Japan until two consecutive tests show negative results.
When, exactly, Rebecca Frasure will receive those test results is unknown, said her husband, Kent Frasure, this week.
"The labs that review the tests are inundated with tests right now so it is taking much longer to get results back," Kent Frasure said. "Always hoping that we will get tests back soon. If the test is still positive, then the turnaround for the next set of results is almost a week."
Rebecca Frasure was one of 700 guests and crew who tested positive for the virus while aboard the ship. All guests have since been taken off the ship.
Although she hasn't shown any symptoms, she has been quarantined at a hospital in Yokohama, Japan, since early February, when the cruise ship docked at the city.
Kent Frasure wasn't allowed to leave the ship until Saturday, Feb. 22. When he deboarded, he wasn't allowed to go to his wife's hospital room, but he spoke to her on the phone while looking at her from the parking lot below her second-floor window.
He is currently in a "soft quarantine" at a hotel in Tokyo.
"The hotel room has been OK," Kent Frasure said, adding that Princess Cruises, which operated the cruise line, has been paying for food and lodging expenses. "It's much better than the cruise ship. While I am still in a somewhat quarantine condition, I can leave the room if needed. I can also get food that I want to get when I want to get it. On the cruise ship, I would get food at random times and would never know if I would like it."
He said he's trying to keep himself occupied in the hotel room, but that he hasn't found a "go-to" show to watch.
"I had been watching a lot of YouTube but started watching 'Titans' on Netflix last night," Kent Frasure said.
He has also been occupying his time by video chatting with friends and family back home.
"We have had a ton of support from friends and family," Kent Frasure said. "We have been incredibly grateful for that."
As a technician with Intel in Hillsboro, Kent Frasure has also been in touch with the company.
"Communication with Intel has been very good," he said. "They have been incredibly supportive," adding that the company offered to help pay expenses not covered by the cruise line.
Intel has banned its employees from traveling to several countries around the world as concerns over the spread of the virus rise.
The ban applies to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Italy and Iran.
Intel said all of its employees, including visitors and guests, who have traveled to, from or through those countries are not to enter an Intel facility for two weeks after their return. The company also asked workers who feel ill or have flu symptoms to stay away from Intel facilities and seek medical attention.
Kent Frasure said it he's spoken to media from around the world since news of his and his wife's situation broke.
"I think the only continent I haven't been on the media is Africa," he said. "It's been quite the ride."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have mandated a 14-day waiting period for Kent Frasure from the day he left the ship before he's cleared to board a commercial flight home.
He has been answering a list of medical questions the CDC sends to him daily.
Although he could be cleared to return home before his wife, Kent Frasure said he's staying in Japan, where officials declared a state of emergency in the country's northern island of Hokkaido following the rapid spread of the virus on the island. Sixty-three cases were confirmed in Hokkaido Friday.
"I won't be leaving Japan without her," Kent Frasure said.
Countries around the world are preparing to manage the spread of the virus, for which there is currently no antidote and which health officials say is likely to become a pandemic.
On Friday, the World Health Organization raised its risk assessment of the virus to "very high," the highest level short of a global pandemic.
In the United States, there have been 459 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in six states as of Friday, according to the CDC.
There have been no confirmed cases in Oregon, but on Friday evening, the Oregon Health Authority announced that there is one "presumptive" case that is pending confirmation, after a person living in Washington County tested positive for the virus. The case is the first presumed COVID-19 case in Oregon.
There have been more than 83,000 confirmed cases in 51 countries globally, with nearly 79,000 confirmed in China. Nearly 2,800 people have died as a result of the virus in China, with 67 deaths outside the country.
Fears over the impact of the virus on global economies have made stock markets plummet. In the United States, stocks continued to fall Friday with the S&P 500 closing at 13% below its records high on Feb. 19. The drop was the worst since the financial crash of 2008.
Health officials are advising people to be prepared for the virus to impact communities in the United States. In the case of a pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends people store a two-week supply of food and water and make sure people have a continuous supply of prescription drugs.
Hours before the Oregon Health Authority announced Oregon's first presumptive COVID-19 case, Gov. Kate Brown convened a Coronavirus Response Team tasked with coordinating state and local agencies and health authorities in preparation for response to the coronavirus. Its goal is to build on the work of the Oregon Health Authority's previously convened response team.
For information about how to prepare for COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread, visit the CDC's website at www.cdc.gov/COVID19.
For local updates on what health officials are doing to prepare communities in Oregon visit the OHA website.
Editor's note: This story has been updated as of 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, with news of a presumptive COVID-19 case in Oregon.
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