Deschutes County reports first COVID-related death

Deschutes County health officials on Tuesday reported the area’s first COVID-related death after a 63-year-old man died earlier in the day at St. Charles in Bend.

He had underlying medical conditions and was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 symptoms yesterday, according to a release. His case was identified through local contact tracing.

“Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of our community member that passed away today,” said Deschutes County Health Services Director Dr. George Conway. “Our hearts are heavy with this news and we want to assure the community that Health Services is committed to containing the transmission of this virus in Central Oregon.”

Conway said the man had “substantial underlying conditions” and had dealt with multiple chronic illnesses in the past.

He had been named as a contact by another person with COVID that Deschutes County Health investigated.

“So he had been forewarned he had been exposed,” Conway said.

In April, a Newberg woman died of COVID complications at St. Charles. Tuesday’s death marks the first county resident to have died due to complications from the disease, officials said.

Conway said he had not yet seen what town the man was from.

Statewide, COVID-19 has killed at least 245 Oregonians.

Deschutes County Health Services wants to remind residents to take these steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask when out in public or around people you don’t live with
  • Maintain six feet of physical distance from people you don’t live with
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Stay home if you feel ill
  • Contact your doctor to be tested if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19

Tuesday’s news “redoubles our concerns and our messaging,” Conway said.

“The big thing is we’re in this for the long haul,” he said. “It could be a year before we have effective vaccines or treatment. The responsible thing is to maintain distance and when you can’t, make sure you wear a face-covering in case you cough or sneeze.”

On Tuesday morning, the hospital reported it had six COVID patients; three were in the ICU and on ventilators.

As of Tuesday, the Oregon Health Authority reported 276 cases of COVID-19 in Deschutes County. Of those, 198 are considered recovered.

If you are experiencing symptoms and need guidance on when to seek medical care, please call the COVID-19 hotline at 541-699-5109.


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