Josephine County reports first COVID-19 death in southern Oregon

Public health officials in Josephine County say that an elderly man died from the virus on Friday.

Posted: Apr 11, 2020 11:24 AM
Updated: Apr 11, 2020 3:50 PM

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — Public health officials in Josephine County say that an 81-year-old man has died from the new coronavirus — marking the first recorded coronavirus-related death in southern Oregon. 

Officials say that the man died on April 10 from complications related to the virus.

By Saturday, the state of Oregon had reported more 51 death attributed to COVID-19, but Josephine County's was the first confirmed fatality in southern Oregon. The vast majority have been in counties at the epicenter of Oregon's coronavirus outbreak — namely Multnomah, Linn, Marion, and Washington counties.

Josephine County Public Health held a press conference on Saturday afternoon at the Anne Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass to cover further details and take questions from the press.

At the press conference, Josephine County public health officer Dr. David Candelaria said that the man had been initially admitted to Asante Three Rivers Medical Center before being transferred to Asante Rogue Regional as his symptoms worsened. He passed away at Rogue Regional on Friday night.

The man was sampled for COVID-19 on March 24 after being ill for a few days prior. The diagnosis was confirmed positive on March 27.

According to the Oregon Health Authority's records, the 81-year-old did have pre-existing medical conditions. Josephine County said that OHA guidelines do not allow them to release further details on what precisely that means for an individual case such as this.


WATCH: Josephine County holds press conference regarding first COVID-19 related death in southern Oregon


The 81-year-old and several family members were "symptomatic prior to testing," health officials said, and all of them self-isolated at the time. They are believed to have gotten the virus through community spread.

Regarding the rest of the man's family, Josephine County Public Health would say only that their condition appeared to be improving.

"This fatality is a reminder that, while some people have relatively mild courses, in others it can be fatal," said Dr. Candelaria. "We don't currently have a way to predict who will have a mild case and who will not."

The agency said that it would not release any further identifying information yet in respect for the family's privacy.

Josephine County Public Health Director Mike Weber said that his agency continues to check in with all of the county's positive cases for updates, most of which have not been hospitalized. Four people have made a full recovery.

Dr. Candelaria said that health providers in the area are continuing to transition toward telehealth in order to screen patients prior to them coming in in order to protect healthcare workers.

"PPE is in continual short supply," Dr. Candelaria said. However, he continued, the amount of PPE in Josephine County has so far been adequate for the relatively low number of cases locally.

Health officials in Josephine County last reported a new positive case of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county total to 17. A total of 633 people have tested negative for the virus.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314841

Reported Deaths: 3624
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah51325643
Washington35086277
Marion32748396
Clackamas26680275
Lane24145248
Jackson21050257
Deschutes16703103
Umatilla12736125
Douglas10795188
Linn1051487
Josephine8685169
Yamhill752099
Klamath651892
Polk629171
Malheur485567
Benton463728
Coos420669
Columbia325439
Jefferson315347
Lincoln277930
Union274838
Wasco242339
Crook213639
Clatsop213225
Tillamook182023
Baker176123
Morrow168621
Curry167817
Hood River163435
Harney82319
Grant7848
Lake6988
Wallowa50811
Gilliam1374
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4651497

Reported Deaths: 68087
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144634825870
Riverside3583834802
San Diego3502674021
San Bernardino3475745507
Orange3150815355
Sacramento1507202105
Santa Clara1407321841
Kern1362881521
Fresno1361631889
Alameda1164051330
Ventura978991120
San Joaquin975341615
Contra Costa95858924
Stanislaus808921235
Tulare73111896
San Mateo52311607
San Francisco52008605
Monterey49485565
Solano44247312
Santa Barbara43189500
Sonoma39476378
Merced39446536
Placer36612364
Imperial34285755
Kings30179285
San Luis Obispo28351313
Madera21749263
Butte21379231
Shasta20763279
Santa Cruz20176211
Yolo19192239
Marin17127242
El Dorado16037127
Sutter13122153
Napa1228795
Yuba928061
Nevada850185
Humboldt831988
Tehama827784
San Benito709567
Mendocino691176
Lassen637927
Tuolumne616993
Lake605887
Amador493059
Glenn399030
Siskiyou391541
Calaveras342766
Del Norte339034
Colusa291018
Inyo166739
Mono14935
Plumas12406
Mariposa100712
Trinity72610
Modoc6278
Unassigned2120
Sierra1980
Alpine1000
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