Umatilla County announced nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, Aug. 18, marking the first time in nearly two months that the county’s new cases were in single digits.
The last time the county reported fewer than 10 cases in a day was on June 24. The Aug. 18 news release from Umatilla County Public Health listed 2,335 confirmed cases in the county since the pandemic began and 32 deaths of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. As of Aug. 18, the county also had 11 COVID-19 patients hospitalized and 142 presumptive cases.
While it is hard to draw definitive conclusions from a single day of testing, Umatilla County’s cases have been trending downward overall. During the week of Aug. 9-15, the county reported its lowest number of confirmed cases (145) and recorded its lowest seven-day average of newly reported cases (20.7) since the end of June.
“The trends, particularly over the last week or so, in Umatilla County, have been very encouraging,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said during a Friday, Aug. 14, call with the media. “The case numbers are still high, but they’ve come down from where they were previously.”
Counties pushed back to a lower level of their reopening schedule by the state must wait at least 21 days before being cleared to advance to a later phase. Umatilla County was first sent to baseline on July 31.
The state takes into account not only the number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations each day, but also the percentage of tests coming back positive and the percentage of cases that are able to be traced back to a known source.
Those numbers have also been decreasing in Umatilla County.
Despite decreasing case levels, the Oregon Health Authority’s weekly workplace outbreak report for Aug. 12 listed a Umatilla County workplace as the largest workplace outbreak in the state.
The report linked 199 COVID-19 cases to Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution since the start of OHA’s investigation on July 8.
Other workplace outbreaks listed in the Aug. 12 report, which only lists worksites with 30 or more employees and five or more cases linked to them within the past 30 days, were:
• Lamb Weston, Hermiston, 170
• Shearer’s Foods, Hermiston, 42
• Lamb Weston East, Boardman, 42
• Walmart Distribution Center, Hermiston, 40
• Walmart store, Hermiston, 39
• Atkinson Staffing, Hermiston, 31
• Smith Frozen Foods, Weston, 30
• Good Shepherd Medical Center, Hermiston, 29
• Two Rivers Correctional Institution, Umatilla, 37
• Lamb Weston West, Boardman, 25
• McDonalds, Hermiston, 24
• Columbia Basin Onion, Hermiston, 17
• Oregon Potato Company, Boardman, 14
• Threemile Canyon Farms, Boardman, 13
• Hill Meat Company, Pendleton, 12
• MJ’s Labor Services, Hermiston, 11
• Home Depot, Hermiston, 9
• Port of Morrow Warehousing, Boardman, 8
• River Point Farms, Hermiston, 8
• Marlette Homes, Hermiston, 8
• Boardman Foods, Boardman, 8
• Keystone RV, Pendleton, 7
• McDonald’s, Stanfield, 7
• Taco Bell, Hermiston, 5
• Pacific Ag, Hermiston, 5
• J&J Snack Foods, Weston, 5
East Oregonian reporter Alex Castle contributed to this report.