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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: 42436

Reported Deaths: 655
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9228160
Marion5858108
Washington579076
Umatilla335444
Clackamas313965
Lane239227
Malheur191738
Jackson16846
Deschutes113213
Yamhill99415
Linn81015
Polk65415
Jefferson6049
Morrow5456
Lincoln51713
Union4672
Benton4426
Klamath4113
Douglas3506
Wasco34715
Hood River2771
Josephine2673
Columbia2661
Coos2460
Clatsop2430
Baker1203
Crook1092
Tillamook700
Curry571
Wallowa442
Lake370
Harney230
Sherman190
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 910438

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3006147000
Riverside667321295
San Bernardino627741072
Orange587251447
San Diego54941870
Kern33881416
Fresno30858436
Sacramento25445484
Santa Clara24313388
Alameda23391461
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18694242
Stanislaus17686397
Tulare17495286
Ventura14300164
Imperial12882336
San Francisco12152140
Monterey1139991
San Mateo11149159
Santa Barbara9814120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9402136
Kings824683
Solano738476
Marin7089128
Madera502074
Placer417857
San Luis Obispo414132
Yolo320759
Butte308752
Santa Cruz280225
Napa196215
Shasta188930
Sutter183712
San Benito144215
El Dorado13284
Yuba129310
Mendocino112921
Tehama8808
Lassen7661
Lake69515
Glenn6573
Nevada6168
Humboldt56710
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador33016
Tuolumne2714
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Mono1802
Del Norte1781
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity260
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
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