PORTLAND – Polk County has had its first death from COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority announced Friday.

The 71-year-old man tested positive on March 19 and died on April 2 at Salem Hospital. He had underlying medical conditions, according to the agency. The man is the state of Oregon’s 22nd death from COVID-19.  Polk County has 20 COVID-19 cases.

There are 73 new cases as of Friday afternoon, bringing the state total to 899.

The new cases are reported in following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (5), Clatsop (1), Crook (1), Deschutes (4), Klamath (5), Malheur (1), Marion (14), Morrow (1), Multnomah (15), Polk (2), Washington (17) and Yamhill (5).

Oregon Health Authority reports new cases once a day on its website:

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommended Friday that people use cloth face coverings when in public spaces where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in places where community spread of the virus has been significant.  The recommendation is in addition to the recommendation to stay at least six feet away from other people.

“CDC is additionally advising the use of a simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others,” a news release from the CDC stated. “Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

The masks recommended are not N-95 respirators or surgical masks.

“Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance,” the release said.

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