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Lebanon veteran is Oregon’s fifth COVID-19 death; 23 new cases, statewide total at 161

Oregon coronavirus MGN

One new Deschutes County positive test result is 10th recorded

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The COVID-19 has virus claimed another life in Oregon, a Linn County veteran in his 90s, raising the state’s death toll from to four, to five, the Oregon Health Authority said Sunday as it also 24 new cases, bringing the state's total to 161.

The COVID-19 cases reported Sunday are in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (1), Deschutes (1, for a total of 10), Lane (1), Marion (3), Multnomah (1), Washington (13) and Yamhill (2).

Oregon Health Authority reports new cases once a day on its website:

Oregon’s one COVID-19 death in Linn County was a veteran in his 90s who tested positive on March 11 and died Sunday morning at the Oregon Veterans' Home in Lebanon. Officials said he had underlying medical conditions.

Thirteen other people who live at the veterans home and one employee had also previously tested positive for the new coronavirus.

“Our hearts are heavy,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “This resident was a veteran who served our nation with honor and dignity in its hour of need. He was also a beloved member of our Lebanon community, and he will be deeply and truly missed.

"On behalf of everyone at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Oregon Veterans’ Home, we offer our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. We grieve with them.”

“At the Lebanon Home, staff continue to diligently follow established infectious disease prevention protocols and public health guidelines,” Fitzpatrick continued. “We know they are doing everything in their power to stop the spread of coronavirus and keep our community safe. All possible resources are being made available to support them in their critical work.”

Since the opening of the Home in 2014, every veteran resident who has passed away has been honored with the “Walk of Honor” in recognition of their service to our country. Typically, staff, residents and family would line the halls to salute and pay their last respects.

On Sunday, amid the COVID-19 situation, staff adjusted this long-honored tribute.  Outside, staff were invited to line the sidewalks (maintaining appropriate social distancing) while his body was escorted to the waiting transportation, draped with a burial flag and a handmade quilt from Quilts of Valor.

Staff fold the burial flag 13 times in accordance with honor guard standards and present it to a family member. Multiple precautionary sterilization measures were taken to protect against the spread of the virus.

“The Walk of Honor is the last form of respect we can offer to honor our veteran and their family,” Fitzpatrick said. “In these unprecedented times, traditions are more important than ever. We will continue to ensure our brothers and sisters in arms receive every honor they deserve while following public health guidelines.”

Out of consideration for the family and confidentiality required by HIPAA, ODVA will not be releasing the resident’s name or other personal information.

As of Sunday, 2,864 negative COVID-19 test results have been returned in Oregon, for a total of 161 positive and 3,025 overall test results since Jan. 24.

The OHA is no longer reporting the number of pending cases. An agency representative explained: "Those numbers are only available from the Oregon State Public Health Lab."

"The OSPHL serves as the first source of testing during an outbreak and as commercial labs come online, OSPHL increases focus on priority testing. Commercial labs have the ability to conduct testing on an industrial scale, but do not report pending results, so this number would not accurately reflect the number of pending results."

Seventeen of Oregon's 36 counties have had COVID-19 cases, with one death each in Linn, Lane, Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties.

Of the 161 cases reported, 91 involved people over age 55, 49 were 35 to 54, 13 were 25-34, four were 18-24 and four were 17 years old or younger, the latest count shows. Of those, 43 were hospitalized, 88 were not and data was not available for 21 of the cases.

Deschutes County has had 75 negative test results and 10 positive ones, OHA said. Crook and Jefferson counties each have had five negative test results and no positive results.

OHA Announces Local Public Health and Tribal Funding for COVID-19 Response

Oregon Health Authority and other officials also announced details about $4 million in state funding that is going out to Local Public Health Authorities (LPHA), Tribes and Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA – the Urban Indian Health Program in Oregon) to support their COVID-19 response. See this table for the allocation amounts per LPHA, Tribe and NARA, which combined total $4 million.

Basic facts about the funding: 

  • All LPHAs, the nine-federally recognized Tribes in Oregon, and NARA receiving the funds.
  • Total amount to these recipients is $4 million, representing a substantial portion of the funds approved by the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board on March 9. 
  • Funding amounts are based on a funding formula as well as COVID-19 cases and investigative work as of March 10, 2020.
  • Funds can be used to support local and tribal COVID-19 response, including: 
    • Reporting, monitoring and controlling of COVID-19 in communities 
    • Identification and screening of contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals 
    • Education, prevention and related communications activities to share information with the public and community partners

“We believe that those funds will have a significant positive impact on our state’s capacity to perform COVID-19 response functions at the local level,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “Their staff are truly on the front lines of the essential epidemiological work that can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases in communities. But we know that more resources will be needed across all aspects of the response.”

“Honoring our government to government relationship is important in our coordinated response to COVID-19,” said Julie Johnson, OHA Director of Tribal Affairs. “We are appreciative of this funding to provide support at the local level. We know everyone is working extremely hard to protect all of our communities across the state.”

“Local health authorities are on the frontlines of this epidemic and leading the response,” said Jocelyn Warren, PhD, MPH, Public Health Division Manager Lane County and current Conference of Local Health Officials chair. This vitally important funding will ensure that their ability to respond increases in line with the severity of the crisis.”

Stay informed about COVID-19:

Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Office of Emergency Management lead the state response.

United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.

Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.

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