Umatilla County reported its second death of a confirmed COVID-19 patient on May 10.
According to a news release from Umatilla County Public Health, the patient was a 64-year-old man who tested positive on April 29 and died May 9 at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Washington. He had underlying health conditions.
The county’s first COVID-19 death was a 76-year-old woman, who tested positive on April 14 and died April 30 at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Washington.
Sunday’s announcement capped off a week of steeply increasing numbers for Umatilla County, but cases have since slowed. The health department only reported one new confirmed case May 11, a patient who was in close contact with a previous case and is now recovering from home in self-isolation, and none on May 12, leaving Umatilla County’s total confirmed caseload at 84.
The two deaths bring the county’s fatality rate for confirmed cases to 2.4%.
The county also reported one new presumptive case.
In the early days of the pandemic, when test results in the United States were less reliable than they are now, a person who had tested positive through a state lab but hadn’t been confirmed a second time by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was considered a “presumptive” case.
While Oregon cases no longer need confirmation from the CDC, the Oregon Health Authority and Umatilla County Public Health now define presumptive cases as people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case and are displaying symptoms but have not yet been confirmed through testing. If their test comes back positive, they are added to the number of confirmed cases.
According to the county, there are 26 currently active cases of COVID-19 in Umatilla County, 56 recoveries and two hospitalizations.
Umatilla County has now surpassed 1,000 tests, with 92% coming back negative. Other illnesses, such as strains of influenza, are still circulating, meaning a person with respiratory symptoms may not have COVID-19, but anyone who is sick is asked to stay home until they have been symptom-free for 72 hours in order to reduce the number of people they may infect.
In numbers last updated on May 5, the county is reporting that most of the county’s confirmed cases are in Hermiston and Umatilla.
Official symptoms of COVID-19 listed by the CDC include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, shaking, loss of taste or smell, muscle pain, headache or sore throat. Doctors have reported patients showing other symptoms while infected, however, from nasal congestion to kidney failure. Some people do not show symptoms at all or do not show symptoms until days after infection, but are still contagious.
People experiencing life-threatening symptoms should call 911. Those experiencing nonemergency symptoms should consult with their physician by phone before appearing in person at a clinic or at the hospital. Good Shepherd Health Care System is offering prescription delivery to patients as needed.