More deaths added to local COVID-19 case counts; DOC announces COVID-19 death of Officer Dave Christensen

Recent COVID-19 deaths added to counts, with a Department of Corrections staff death with local ties.

Grays Harbor added 3 deaths to the local COVID-19 case count, with Pacific County adding 2 within the last week. 

The Washington State Department of Corrections released information regarding the second death of a DOC staff member due to COVID, and that employee has Grays Harbor connections.

DOC says that they were notified that Correctional Officer David A. Christensen, 62, passed away on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 from complications of COVID-19.

 “It is with deep sadness that we announce the loss of Correctional Officer David Christensen due to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to Officer Christensen’s grieving family and honor the sacrifice they have made,” said Stephen Sinclair, Secretary of Corrections. “It is a tragedy to lose a member of our public safety community and correctional family.” 

Officer Christensen had most recently worked for the Department since May 2020 after having previously worked for the Department from 2015-2017 at the Clallam Bay and Stafford Creek corrections centers. 

Officer Christensen had a long career in corrections and criminal justice, working over the years for the Oregon Department of Corrections, Grays Harbor County Jail, Aberdeen Police Department and the Grays Harbor County Juvenile Department. 

“I personally knew Dave for several years and he always impressed me with his leadership skills and his desire to support his fellow officers,” said Ron Haynes, Superintendent at Stafford Creek Corrections Center. “Dave’s humble nature and interest in maintaining safety of those at the facility were very much in line with the Department’s values. Dave was a good man and will be missed by all of us who had the honor of working with and knowing him.” 

The Department will review Officer Christensen’s death as a possible line of duty death. 

Both local health departments saw an increase in their COVID-19 death case totals on Wednesday.

Grays Harbor Public Health & Social Services updated their local case count with 3 new deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the count to 24. 2078 total Grays Harbor residents have had positive cases of COVID in total.

According to  Pacific County Public Health & Human Services, the county updated their count to a total of 5 deaths among local residents since the start of the pandemic. In total, 576 cases have been seen in the county.