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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.

Confirmed Cases: 11188

Reported Deaths: 230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah269472
Marion174353
Washington172020
Clackamas91427
Umatilla8867
Union3671
Lincoln3634
Lane2713
Malheur2661
Deschutes2290
Yamhill1719
Linn16810
Polk16812
Jackson1640
Jefferson1450
Morrow1321
Klamath1311
Wasco1021
Benton996
Hood River990
Douglas560
Clatsop550
Josephine541
Coos520
Columbia470
Lake240
Crook171
Tillamook150
Wallowa120
Curry90
Baker80
Sherman30
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 302484

Reported Deaths: 6859
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1249923690
Riverside23334533
Orange21517402
San Diego18402415
San Bernardino17414304
Imperial7654127
Fresno762787
Alameda7407146
San Joaquin606567
Kern597989
Santa Clara5678166
Tulare5509148
Sacramento493278
Stanislaus436450
Contra Costa435788
San Francisco414550
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3787111
Marin322730
Kings285539
Monterey234317
Solano198527
Merced179312
Sonoma151914
Placer99311
San Luis Obispo8774
Madera8578
Yolo80228
Santa Cruz5063
Napa4664
Sutter3374
Butte3194
San Benito3112
El Dorado2920
Lassen2690
Shasta1766
Yuba1633
Humboldt1614
Glenn1590
Nevada1591
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Lake1011
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Tuolumne600
Del Norte580
Mono491
Amador360
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
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