FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 7, 2020 Columbia County suffers three additional COVID-19 deaths

(Columbia County, Oregon) - Columbia County has suffered three additional losses to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Columbia County’s fourth death, a 75-year-old man, was Oregon's 949th COVID-19 death. He tested positive on November 22 and died on November 27 at Kaiser Westside Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.

The County’s fifth death, a 68-year-old woman, was Oregon’s 1024th COVID-19 death. She tested positive on November 20 and died on December 1. Her place of death is being confirmed. She had underlying conditions.

Columbia County’s sixth death, a 97-year-old man, was Oregon’s 1027th COVID-19 death. He tested positive on November 22 and died on November 27. His place of death and underlying conditions are being confirmed.

“We announce these deaths with sadness,” Commissioner Margaret Magruder said. “These losses are family, friends, and neighbors, and we offer our condolences to their loved ones.”

The extent to which our community implements recommendations now and for the rest of winter will affect the number of new deaths and hospitalizations Columbia County announces over the next several weeks. Our county can prevent death and severe disease if our community members continue to take this seriously and take individual actions to reduce the spread of the virus: wash your hands, wear a mask, and limit the number of people you come in close contact with.

“The regional data tells us that there are more active infections in Columbia County than there has been all year,” Public Health Director Michael Paul said. “But we also know that most people have not been infected and remain susceptible. Outbreaks at every workplace and in every household are not inevitable. We can limit the amount of death and suffering, as well as further economic hardship, by collectively implementing the guidance to move our county to a lower risk level.”

Paul said if you have recently attended a social gathering and learned you were exposed, the Public Health Department recommends you get tested. You may be asymptomatic, and you could infect others without knowing it.

“Wear a mask, stay socially distanced, and come to our next free testing clinic or contact your regular health care provider,” Paul said.

Due to the surge in cases, Columbia County Public Health is asking that any citizen who tests positive begin reaching out to their close contacts themselves.

“We will continue to try to reach everyone within 24 hours, but we have reached a tipping point that requires us to implement surge protocols,” Paul said. “If you have been tested recently, please stay home until you receive your results and review our After-Testing Guide with your family.”

Paul said once you have been notified that you were exposed or tested positive, your actions can prevent an outbreak at another home, workplace, or senior living community.

The Columbia County Public Health Department will not be making death announcements for each casualty moving forward. For updated reports, visit the Oregon Health Authority’s website at


Additional statewide information concerning COVID-19-related demographics and information about positive cases can be found on the Oregon Health Authority's website at


General questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 2-1-1. Questions about your specific medical needs should be directed to your health care provider. If you cannot find the information you need via the website and number provided here, call Columbia County Public Health at 503-397-7247. 

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