KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Klamath County Public Health officials reported the first coronavirus-related death in the area on Wednesday, only the second such fatality in southern Oregon.
“This is a sad day for our community. We must all remember that this individual has a family and friends who need privacy to mourn. With international attention often focused on the number of deaths worldwide, it would be easy to see this milestone as a mere statistic,” said KCPH Director Jennifer Little.
Officials said that the death happened on Tuesday, June 30. Klamath County Public Health asked that the community respect the family's need for privacy, and their need to grieve and process the loss.
While the agency did not identify the individual, it did provide some basic demographic details. The person was a woman in her 70s. She was hospitalized at the time that she died.
Klamath County Public Health information officer Valeree Lane said that woman is believed to have contracted the virus from a close connection, and this was not a case of community spread.
County officials expect to receive more information on the case from the Oregon Health Authority on Thursday.
“This person was a member of our community. Public Health and all Klamath County government would like to express sincere condolences to the family and other loved ones grieving at this time,” Little continued.
Josephine County marked the first death attributed to the virus in southern Oregon on April 11, an 81-year-old man.
Klamath County reported a total of 123 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, out of 5,143 processed tests. Ten people have been hospitalized for the virus since the outbreak began.
Many of the recent COVID-19 cases in southern Oregon have been among younger people — particularly in Klamath County — accompanied by a comparatively lower hospitalization rate. Earlier this week, Jackson County health officer Dr. Jim Shames expressed concern that this trend would eventually cause a spread of infection to more vulnerable groups.