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State COVID-19 death toll passes 1,000

Thirty more Oregonians have died of COVID-19, pushing the state’s death toll to 1,003, the Oregon Health Authority reported Friday.

“Today, Oregon marked a tragic milestone in the COIVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Kate Brown said in a news release. “This disease has touched every Oregonian. It has taken a devastating toll on our families, our communities, our businesses and our physical and mental wellbeing. On this somber day, our hearts go out to all the families and friends who have lost a loved one and to all Oregonians who have suffered and sacrificed during this pandemic.”

Those who died ranged in age from 52 to 96, with 10 women and 20 men. Twenty-three were confirmed to have had underlying medical conditions, OHA reported.

OHA reported 2,176 new cases of the disease Friday, a new daily record, pushing Oregon’s total to 81,437 cases.

Three of the deaths were in Jackson County, Jackson County Public Health reported.

The county reported 172 new cases of the disease Friday, raising the local total to 4,202. Of those, 681 cases were considered to be infectious.

A 94-year-old woman who tested positive Nov. 9 died Dec. 3 at Rogue Regional Medical Center; a 94-year-old woman who tested positive Nov. 10 died Dec. 1 in her home; and a 77-year-old man who tested positive Nov. 11 died Dec. 2 at RRMC. All three people had underlying health conditions.

The deaths pushed the local death toll to 41, public health officials said.

The 172 cases is the most reported in one day since the start of the pandemic, but a key reason for the spike was an update to the Oregon Health Authority’s electronic disease surveillance system, used by state and local public health authorities to manage COVID-19 cases, which prompted a temporary shutdown earlier this week.

“Jackson County Public Health was unable to process new cases during the shutdown on the evening of Dec. 1,” the county said in an email. “Therefore today’s daily case report is higher than expected.”

The number of Oregonians hospitalized because of the disease decreased to 557, two fewer than 559 Thursday, and 115 people were in intensive care, six more than 109 Thursday.

Jackson and Josephine counties had 54 COVID-19 patients in the hospital Friday, an increase of four from Thursday. Out of 57 staffed ICU beds in the two counties, 48 were occupied. Of the region’s 445 non-ICU beds, 377 were occupied.