Malheur County reports death of man who had coronavirus

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the man, while infected by the virus, died of an unrelated condition.

ONTARIO – A 70-year-old man from Malheur County who died while undergoing medical treatment later was determined to have COVID-19, officials announced.

Sarah Poe, Malheur County Health Department director, disclosed the death in a statement late Saturday night.

Poe said Monday the man was hospitalized at the time of death and was being treated for a condition unrelated to the virus. The statement didn’t identify the man or list when he died or under what circumstances.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends affected by the death,” Poe said in her statement. “Contact tracers are working diligently to trace and ensure our community remains as safe as possible.”

The case comes as Malheur County moved to a less restrictive environment for people, businesses and organizations under the state’s second phase of reopening.

Only two other counties in eastern Oregon have reported COVID-19 deaths. Umatilla County has reported three and Wasco County reported one.

Since the first case was reported in Malheur County in late March, 33 people have been reported infected with the respiratory disease. Of those none required hospitalization and 28 have recovered, according to Malheur County officials.

State data shows that Malheur County has conducted 836 tests for the virus, with 4% showing as positive. The state average for positive results from COVID-19 testing is 3%.

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