Linn County, Ore. – A fifth Oregonian has died from COVID-19, and it’s the first death from the virus reported at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon. The 90-year-old man had underlying medical conditions and died Sunday morning. The Director of the Oregon VA released a statement saying in part: He served our nation with honor, and was a beloved member of the community.
161 people in Oregon have tested positive for COVID-19, 24 new people reportedly have the virus as of Sunday morning. In Washington state 94 people have now died from the Coronavirus and nearly 18-hundred residents have tested positive. There are now ten people in Clark County with the virus. Health experts predict these numbers will continue to climb.
Photo of Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon
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It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of one of the honored residents of the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon due to complications related to COVID-19. The resident passed away early on the morning of March 22.
“Our hearts are heavy,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “This resident was a veteran who served our nation with honor and dignity in its hour of need. He was also a beloved member of our Lebanon community, and he will be deeply and truly missed. On behalf of everyone at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Oregon Veterans’ Home, we offer our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. We grieve with them.
“At the Lebanon Home, staff continue to diligently follow established infectious disease prevention protocols and public health guidelines,” Director Fitzpatrick continued. “We know they are doing everything in their power to stop the spread of coronavirus and keep our community safe. All possible resources are being made available to support them in their critical work.”
Since the opening of the Home in 2014, every veteran resident who has passed away has been honored with the “Walk of Honor” in recognition of their service to our country. Typically, staff, residents and family would line the halls to salute and pay their last respects.
Today, amid the COVID-19 situation, staff adjusted this long-honored tribute. Outside, staff were invited to line the sidewalks (maintaining appropriate social distancing) while his body was escorted to the waiting transportation, draped with a burial flag and a handmade quilt from Quilts of Valor.
Staff fold the burial flag 13 times in accordance with honor guard standards and present it to a family member. Multiple precautionary sterilization measures were taken to protect against the spread of the virus.
“The Walk of Honor is the last form of respect we can offer to honor our veteran and their family,” said Director Fitzpatrick. “In these unprecedented times, traditions are more important than ever. We will continue to ensure our brothers and sisters in arms receive every honor they deserve while following public health guidelines.”
Out of consideration for the family and confidentiality required by HIPAA, ODVA will not be releasing the resident’s name or other personal information.