PORTLAND, Ore.-- Health officials in Oregon say a 70-year-old Multnomah County man is the first person to die from COVID-19 in Oregon. The man tested positive for COVID-19 on March 10, and was hospitalized at the Portland Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center. He passed away 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.”

According to a press release from Oregon Health Authority, the mad had underlying health conditions, but 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.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown offered her condolences to the man's family, and encouraged other Oregon residents to help slow the spread of the virus to prevent additional deaths.

"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," Brown said in a statement released Saturday. "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."

There are currently 36 cases of confirmed COVID-19 in Oregon, with six new cases reported on Saturday. Of those 36 cases, two are in Umatilla County.

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