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Deschutes County reports its first COVID-19 death, at St. Charles Bend

St. Charles Bend
KTVZ file

63-year-old man was admitted with symptoms on Monday

(Update: Adding St. Charles statement)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County health officials have reported the first death of a county resident due to COVID-19, a 63-year-old man who died Tuesday at St. Charles Bend, one day after being admitted with symptoms.

The man "had underlying medical conditions and was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 symptoms yesterday (Monday)," county health officials said in an announcement.

His case was identified through local contact tracing, they added.

“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.”

Iman Simmons, St. Charles’ chief operating officer and one of two incident commanders for the health system’s COVID-19 response, issued a statement saying, “The first death of a Deschutes County resident is another sad milestone in this pandemic.”

“As we continue to see the number of COVID-19 cases grow exponentially in our community, it’s important to remember that our best defense is to frequently wash or sanitize our hands, and to follow the governor’s orders. Those include wearing a mask when indoors—and outside, too, if you can’t maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others—and limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people,” Simmons added.

Tuesday's Deschutes County death was not reflected in the day’s Oregon Health Authority update, which indicated seven more Oregonians had died of COVID-19, the highest toll since late April. County officials said it will be reported in Wednesday's data.

The man was the second Central Oregon resident to die from COVID-19 -- and the second in less than a week, after the death of a 63-year-old Crook County woman last week.

It also was the second COVID-19 death at St. Charles Bend since the pandemic began earlier this year. A Newberg woman died in mid-April at the hospital, but COVID-19 deaths and positive cases are counted by their place of residence by the Oregon Health Authority.

Deschutes County Health Services said it 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; and
  • Contact your doctor to be tested if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19 

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

As of Tuesday, the Oregon Health Authority reports 276 cases of COVID-19 in Deschutes County. Of those, 198 are considered recovered. For local data and updates on COVID-19, visit the website at

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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