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Douglas County man marks fifth local COVID-19 death

A Myrtle Creek man became the fifth person to die in Douglas County in connection with COVID-19, according to the Thursday update of the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team.

The Oregon Health Authority reported that the 64-year-old died on Oct. 17, and the presence of an underlying health condition was being confirmed.

In cooperation with the Douglas County medical examiner, a post-mortem examination included several tests for COVID-19, which returned with positive results. It was the county’s first case of COVID-19 to be discovered after death and the first coronavirus-attributed death of a Douglas County resident since Sept. 20.

The man had reportedly been directly linked to another local COVID-19 patient who was in isolation, but had not been tested for the coronavirus prior to his death.

Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said in order to protect the privacy of the man’s family, no further information would be provided.

“Each death related to COVID-19 is painful for all Douglas County residents, and a reminder of the terrible impact COVID-19 has had on our local communities,” the response team said in Thursday’s report. “The Douglas County Board of Commissioners, Dr. Dannenhoffer, Douglas Public Health Network staff and the DCCRT continue to extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to all family members, friends, relatives, co-workers and community members of those who have passed after contracting this deadly virus.”

“This is an incredibly heartbreaking situation,” added Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman. “This is again a solemn reminder that the COVID-19 virus is still active in our communities.”

The response team announced five new positive test results and three new presumptive cases, pushing the county’s total to 341 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The county also has had more than 15,000 negative test results.

Four Douglas County residents are presently hospitalized due to the virus, one of which is receiving care outside of the county.

The Douglas Public Health Network is monitoring 49 cases that are in isolation, as well as 179 others who are in self-quarantine. The number of people in quarantine increased by 70 from Tuesday’s report.

According to the Oregon Health Authority’s Thursday report, those who passed away ranged from 53 to 97 years of age. Underlying health conditions had been confirmed in seven of the cases.

Oregon had 373 new confirmed at presumptive cases Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 40,810. There have been 646 deaths statewide.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, the Roseburg VA Medical Center has five active cases of COVID-19, a figure that conflicts with the Oregon Health Authority, which reported nine cases in its Wednesday report on workplace outbreaks.

According to the VA, it has four veteran patients and one employee with active cases of COVID-19.

The VA said the discrepancy is likely due to the fact that OHA includes in its outbreak statistics other household members and close contacts of patients and staff who’ve contracted the disease.

Altogether since the beginning of the pandemic, the Roseburg VA said it has had 38 cases. Of those, 31 were veterans, five employees, one veteran employee and one listed as “other.”

“Per guidance (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and VA protocols, employees and patients exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms are immediately isolated to prevent potential spread to others with testing results and follow-up care delivered via telephone,” VA spokesperson Tim Parish said in an email.

He said no veterans receiving direct inpatient care at the VA have contracted COVID-19.

Historic Valley Hotel in downtown Roseburg renovated

The old Valley Hotel in downtown Roseburg is being transformed into an apartment complex. The building, at 950 SE Washington Ave., dates back to 1885, when the bottom two floors were built, owner Magnus Johannesson said.

The third floor was built in 1910. The original name was the Valley Hotel. At some point it was renamed the Terminal Hotel, Johannesson said. The southeast corner of the building was open so buses could drive through, allowing passengers to exit under cover. There were four Terminal Hotels in Oregon in 1927, one each in Salem, Eugene, Roseburg and Medford.

The 34 units are being updated into dorm-like apartments, complete with wood floors, sinks, refrigerators and bunk beds. There will also be a main lobby and common areas. Johannesson said he hopes to finish the work and start renting out the units by the end of the year.

Updated: Roseburg VA police officer arrested on multiple charges

A Roseburg man was arrested Thursday after allegedly placing hidden cameras in the bedroom of a young girl, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives from the sheriff’s office began investigating after the cameras were found in the 14-year-old’s bedroom, according to police. Investigators contacted Robert Wayne Roady, 48, who is a police officer at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and arrested him after Roady said he had placed the cameras in the girl’s room for sexual purposes, according to police.

Detectives searched Roady’s home and found evidence pertaining to the investigation and were able to identify two other victims, according to the sheriff’s office.

Roady was arrested on suspicion of nine counts of first-degree invasion of personal privacy. Additional charges are being considered, according to Brad O’Dell, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

VA spokesman Tim Parish said the "allegations are abhorrent."

"Roseburg Health Care System is taking the appropriate steps to hold this individual accountable and has already suspended his law enforcement authority and has taken his badge and service weapon. VA has made clear that it will hold employees accountable when they fail to live up to the high standards Veterans and taxpayers expect, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in this case," Parish said in a statement.

Anyone with information about the alleged crimes is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 541-440-4458.

Sutherlin man charged with manslaughter month after crash on Highway 42 kills two

A Sutherlin man was arrested Thursday on two counts of second-degree manslaughter in connection with a fatal crash that left two men dead in September.

Dustin Robinson, 36, was taken into custody Thursday one a month after a crash that killed William McCullough IV and Mark Ritter, both 20 years of age. He was also charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants and reckless driving.

According to the initial incident report, Robinson’s Dodge Ram pickup was traveling west on Highway 42 when his vehicle drifted off the roadway and collided with a silver Pontiac Grand Am that was waiting to enter the highway from Jackie Avenue, roughly three-quarters of a mile west of Kelly’s Corner.

McCullough IV, the driver, and Ritter, the passenger, both sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced deceased at the scene.

Second-degree manslaughter is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 75 months if convicted.

Oregon State Police arrested Robinson on Thursday. Following his arraignment Friday afternoon, Robinson was being held on $500,000 bail.