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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: 133851

Reported Deaths: 1803
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28467459
Washington18734171
Marion16247239
Clackamas11698138
Lane8353109
Jackson693085
Umatilla679368
Deschutes499936
Yamhill319045
Malheur313552
Linn311646
Polk245540
Klamath242838
Josephine174333
Benton170514
Jefferson170525
Douglas168743
Union111416
Wasco108123
Columbia104918
Lincoln99617
Hood River95421
Coos93815
Morrow93810
Clatsop6865
Crook62110
Baker5685
Tillamook3652
Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
Alameda67952765
Ventura62101436
San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
Stanislaus42882758
Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
Santa Barbara25083236
Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
El Dorado782644
Sutter775478
Napa760140
Lassen519516
San Benito496343
Yuba495127
Tehama397142
Tuolumne338240
Nevada320673
Mendocino311432
Amador301631
Lake261230
Humboldt239324
Glenn193519
Colusa17339
Calaveras161723
Siskiyou144613
Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
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