Three more Douglas County residents have died of COVID-19, raising the county’s death toll to 15.
The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team reported the deaths on Thursday, along with 27 new cases.
One was a 76-year-old man who was diagnosed on Oct. 29 and admitted to the hospital Nov. 14.
One was an 83-year-old man who was diagnosed Nov. 3 and admitted to the hospital on Nov. 8.
One was an 82-year-old man who was diagnosed Nov. 9 and admitted to the hospital on Nov.13.
No additional information is being released about the people who died.
“With the passing of not one, but three residents in the last 24 hours to this relentless virus, we are reminded how precious each and every life is, and just how quickly and unapologetically this virus can take lives away from us,” Commissioner Tim Freeman said in a press release.
He urged people to take precautions.
“Please take a moment and think about how you would feel if someone got you sick, or if they got sick because of you, or if you unintentionally spread the virus to your family, coworkers or loved ones. The virus is no longer illusive in Douglas County, it is here and spreading quickly,” he said.
Hours after this announcement came another in which the three county commissioners said they “have concerns” about Gov. Kate Brown’s two-week freeze.
The governor has said the freeze is intended to slow the exponential growth of the illness reflected in the growing case numbers and deaths, and to avoid hospitals now nearing capacity from running out of room for COVID-19 patients.
The commissioners acknowledged the threat the virus poses.
“The virus is real, it is not the flu, people are dying in Douglas County, and our hospital is on the verge of being overwhelmed,” they said.
But they said they do not support county enforcement of state-issued COVID-19 guidelines.
“We feel that most people will do the right thing, if given the opportunity and knowledge to do so. We cannot in good conscience condone citing or potentially arresting people for gathering with family to give thanks on Thanksgiving or for attending Church services,” the commissioners wrote.
They said businesses are closing, families are suffering and children are struggling because they need to be back in school.
“We fear that with this new shutdown and the coming metrics to follow, that those unintended consequences will continue to rise. Our communities can’t bear much more,” they wrote.
As of Thursday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the county since the pandemic’s beginning stood at 728.
There are 14 county residents currently hospitalized with the illness, 12 locally and 2 out of the area.
The Douglas Public Health Network is supporting 226 cases in isolation as well as another 467 people who’ve had close contact with an infected person for a total of 693 people.
Statewide, the Oregon Health Authority reported 20 new deaths on Thursday and 1,225 new cases.
That brings the statewide death toll to 808, and the total number of cases since the pandemic’s beginning to 60,873.
Lane County had 130 of the new cases, and the youngest of the new deaths was a 30-year-old man in Lane County.
A 40-year-old Malheur County man died of the illness at West Valley Medical Center in Idaho.
The others included in Thursday’s Oregon deaths ranged in age from 49 to 95. Most were from Jackson and Multnomah Counties.
Half of the new deaths are known to have had underlying conditions, and the presence of underlying conditions in the other half are being confirmed.