Heart problems most common condition among Oregonians who have died from COVID-19

Andrea Davila, a nurse at the Kaiser Permanente North Lancaster clinic in Salem administers a test for COVID-19 at the clinic’s drive-thru testing site on Wednesday, April 29. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The existing health conditions of Oregonians play a significant role in the impact of COVID-19, according to a new state analysis that provides the most detail to date. Here are five key takeaways.

People who died from COVID-19 most often also had heart problems

Nearly every announcement of a person dying from COVID-19 in Oregon has included reference to “underlying medical conditions.”

For the first time, Oregon Health Authority gave more detail, based on reviewing the medical records for 73 of the 92 Oregonians who died of the disease through April 26. One person may have multiple conditions, and the report, released Tuesday, doesn’t detail the number of conditions.

Over half had a history of cardiovascular disease. About half had a neurological or neurodevelopmental condition, a broad category that includes epilepsy, a history of stroke and learning disabilities. Diabetes, lung disease and a history of smoking were the next most common.

About 42% of Oregonians who died had a medical condition not included in the health authority’s broad categories, like cancer or a gastrointestinal problem.

One in three infected Marion County residents has recovered

With the daily march of new cases, it’s easy to forget most people recover from the virus. As of April 26, 142 Marion County residents who tested positive for the virus have recovered, meaning they have been without symptoms of illness for three days.

Seventeen Marion County residents, about 3% of those testing positive, have died. The rest, about 300 people, are still showing symptoms.

Latinos are more likely to test positive, less likely to need hospitalization

Latinos in Oregon have disproportionately tested positive for COVID-19, making up 13% of Oregon’s population but about 27% of positive tests.

Those who do get sick are less likely to end up in the hospital. Only 18% of Latinos who test positive for COVID-19 were hospitalized at some point during their illness. Statewide, about one quarter of people with a positive test end up in the hospital.

Black Oregonians make up 2.5% of those testing positive for COVID-19, about the same as their share of Oregon’s population. That’s in contrast to many parts of the U.S., where African-Americans have been significantly overrepresented among those sick with COVID-19.

Nursing homes account for over half of Oregon’s deaths

A large COVID-19 outbreak at a Portland-area nursing home accounts for a large share of Oregon’s deaths, with 21 residents or employees dying there.

In the Salem area, six residents or employees of Marion County nursing homes have died from the virus, one at each of six facilities with a reported outbreak.

Coughs are common, but symptoms are all over the map

Oregonians sickened with the virus have reported coughs in 70% of cases, with fevers, muscle ache and shortness of breath also common.

But the symptoms described also include diarrhea, headache and a loss of smell, each in about one quarter of patients.

About 4% of Oregonians who have tested positive reported no symptoms.

DOCUMENT: Read the full state report

This story is published as part of a collaborative of news organizations across Oregon sharing stories in the public interest. The Malheur Enterprise is part of the collaborative.