A 70-year-old man in Multnomah County is the first person to die from COVID-19 in Oregon. The Multnomah County resident was hospitalized at the Portland Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center and succumbed to his symptoms on Saturday, March 14.
The individual is 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.”
The individual, who had underlying heath conditions, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 10. The individual had no known contact to a confirmed case and had not traveled to a country where the virus is circulating.
“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.”
Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement regarding Oregon's first death due to COVID-19, a veteran in Multnomah County with underlying health conditions:
"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."