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OHA director and Gov. Brown reflect on 1 year anniversary of first Oregon COVID case

Officials reflect on what Oregonians have accomplished one year after its first COVID-19 case was diagnosed.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

PORTLAND, Ore. — Sunday, February 28, 2021 marks one year since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Oregon.

When Hector Calderon was diagnosed with COVID-19, the state understood that the pandemic had finally made it to our portion of the PNW. Calderon's case was deemed a community case, meaning they could not trace the source of it, which left health officials wondering just how long the virus had been in the state.

Calderon spent two months on a ventilator to assist his breathing before he made a recovery. 

Since then, as of Sunday, a total of 2,208 people have died as a result of COVID-19 and a total of 155,597 cases have been recorded.

RELATED: 'Such a great victory': One year later, an update on Oregon's first COVID patient

Both the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Director and Gov. Kate Brown released statements thanking Oregonians for their efforts and reflecting on what the last year of living with coronavirus has looked like.

Patrick Allen, OHA director, released a statement thanking Oregonians but also urging them to continue to take pandemic measures like social distancing and wearing a mask seriously.

It said, in part:

It’s been one year since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Oregon. Twelve grim months later, nothing is the same. The pandemic has claimed more than half a million lives in the United States. More than 2,200 Oregonians have died with the coronavirus. All of us have felt their loss. All of us have seen our lives altered: a beloved grandparent’s lonely wave through the glass of a nursing home window. The empty storefront of a bedrock local business. Birthdays, graduations and anniversaries awkwardly celebrated on a screen instead of in-person. Frustration as parents struggle to help kids in school while trying to meet work demands.

But there’s another number Oregonians should bear in mind, especially as we confront the coming months of the pandemic: 4,000. That’s approximately the number of lives you’ve saved by wearing a mask, limiting in-person gatherings and maintaining social distance.

It went on to encourage Oregonians to keep doing what they are doing to keep each other safe:

With gratitude, and respect for all the lifesaving sacrifices you’ve made so far, I ask Oregonians to:

  • Keep wearing masks, limiting your social get-togethers and maintaining your physical distance. Until we know more, we need to keep our guard up.
  • Choose to get vaccinated when you are eligible, as soon as an appointment is available to you.

On Friday, Governor Brown told Oregonians we are speeding up our timelines to vaccinate Oregonians. Over the next month we expect to vaccinate more than 3 in 4 seniors. People with underlying health conditions will be eligible on March 29th. Frontline workers will be eligible no later than May 1. And we’ll open vaccinations to the first healthy members of the general public no later than June 1.

You can read the full statement here.

Gov. Brown also released a lengthy statement with many of the same sentiments. She said, in part:

For so many Oregonians, after living through the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, flooding, severe winter weather, and a long-overdue reckoning on racism and racial justice, our lives are far different than they were on February 28, one year ago.

Through it all, I have been inspired by the way Oregonians have pulled together and helped one another. Because of your smart choices to protect friends and family, Oregon has maintained some of the lowest infection, hospitalization, and death rates in the nation throughout the pandemic.

Today, I want to take a moment to say: Thank you, Oregon.

On Sunday, OHA reported 292 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths. It also continues its vaccination efforts with a total of 973,022 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered of the 1,194,495 that have been delivered to sites across the state.