PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Oregon Health Authority is reporting two more deaths in Oregon due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“We are saddened at the news of these additional lives lost in Oregon due to COVID-19,” said Patrick Allen, OHA director. “These deaths only strengthen our resolve to slow the spread of this disease in our communities. We are in this together.”
A 60-year-old woman in Lane County died at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center on March 14, while a 71-year-old man in Washington County died at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center on March 17. Both had underlying medical conditions, OHA said.
“First and foremost, we are deeply saddened by the loss of our community member," said Dr. Patrick Luedtke, senior public health officer for Lane County. "We ask that our community members, and the greater Oregon community, show kindness and compassion for the family of the deceased at this time. We are absolutely committed to preventing future death through slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
The Lane County woman tested positive for COVID-19 on March 17, after her death. The Washington County man had a positive test result the day before his death, on March 16.
Providence confirmed that its medical staff had been caring for the Washington County patient at St. Vincent Medical Center prior to his death.
"The hearts of all the people of Providence go out to the patient’s family," Providence said in a statement. "This is a difficult time, and our top priority continues to be protecting the health of our community. Out of respect for the family, we will not be making any further statements."
Ten new cases were confirmed statewide Wednesday. They were in Benton, Lane, Marion, Washington, and Yamhill counties. That brings the state total to 75.
The COVID-19 coronavirus has spread to more than 160 countries and all 50 U.S. states. The World Health Organization (WHO) has now upgraded the virus from a public health emergency of international concern to a "pandemic" — reflecting the disease's global reach.
According to WHO, most cases of COVID-19 are mild, but about 1 in every 5 people who catch it require hospital care — making it considerably more serious than the typical influenza virus strains.
On Tuesday, Governor Kate Brown extended public school closures through April 28 as a precaution against the virus. Just a day earlier, she restricted public gatherings to a maximum of 25 people and ordered restaurants to eliminate dine-in options.