This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Credit: NIAID-RML

First Suspected COVID-19 Death in Lane County

News comes hours after announcement of first COVID-19 patient, but unrelated cases

A 60-year-old woman in Lane County has died at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield. She’s the first suspected COVID-19 death in the county.

According to Lane County Public Health, the patient, who’s name hasn’t been released, was brought in to the hospital experiencing cardiac arrest. After her death on March 14, a COVID-19 test was submitted to the Oregon State Public Health Lab. On the evening of Tuesday, March 17, the test returned positive.

The woman didn’t reside in an assisted living facility, the county public health agency said. The Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the official cause of death, but the county says the positive test result is concerning.

If the county learns of the woman’s exposure points, Lane County Public Health will notify the public and those who have been exposed. The county will then work with peoples’ health care providers on next steps and whether testing is necessary, according to the press release.

The news of the woman’s death comes hours after Lane County announced the first presumptive positive test: a 69-year-old Eugene-Springfield man. The individual began experiencing symptoms on March 1 with a fever, body aches, chills and a light cough. He was tested on March 13. He’s currently recovering at his home and is medically stable.

The county reminded residents to continue practicing social distancing, including adhering to all state guidance on gatherings and business operations, to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

As of now, Lane County has conducted 97 tests, and seven are still pending. There have been 65 total presumptive positives in Oregon. This is the second known death from the novel coronavirus in the state.

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