PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A 70-year-old man in Multnomah County died due to COVID-19 on Saturday, the Oregon Health Authority said, making it the first known death in the state.
The Multnomah County resident had been hospitalized at the Portland Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center. The man had underlying health conditions and had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 10. He had "no known contact to a confirmed case and had not traveled to a country where the virus is circulating."
Health officials said he was not connected to the cases at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon.
“While we knew we would arrive at this day at some point, it doesn’t lessen the impact,” said OHA director Patrick Allen. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with the family of this individual who honorably served his country.”
“This is a sobering reminder that this virus is in our community and can be serious for older people and those with underlying conditions,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines Multnomah County Health Officer. “This loss has motivated us to continue our efforts to minimize the impact of this virus on our community.”
Following the announcement Governor Kate Brown released the following statement:
"Although we knew this day would come, it does not make it any easier to learn of the first Oregonian to succumb to this illness –– an honored veteran who served his country to protect the freedoms we all hold dear," said Governor Brown. "The loss of one life to this disease is too many. Already, thousands around the world have felt the pain that casts its shadow over one family here in Oregon."
"When several more Oregonians are at this moment battling COVID-19, I ask you to join me in honoring this person's memory by taking the steps we know are necessary to prevent the further spread of this disease. By taking action together, we can help to slow the rate of infection and protect our friends, neighbors, and loved ones who are most vulnerable."
"We must do all that we can to slow the spread of this disease: avoid large events, follow social distancing protocols, and, above all, stay home when sick. These steps will help to ensure those who are older and have underlying health conditions can avoid becoming ill, and can receive the best available medical treatment when necessary. I have every confidence in the health professionals who are working day and night to contain the coronavirus in Oregon, and I will do everything within my power to ensure they have the resources they need to continue their work with all available speed."
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