This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rendering shows the COVID-19 virus.

Umatilla and Morrow counties remained on the state’s “extreme risk” list for COVID-19 as Oregon Health Authority updated its assessments of each county.

In total, 29 of Oregon’s 36 counties now fall under the category, one of four levels in the state’s new COVID-19 restrictions. The list is updated every two weeks as OHA reevaluates the latest COVID-19 cases, test positivity and community spread of the virus.

”We continue to see community spread across Oregon to the point that the majority of the state needs to continue with strict health and safety measures,” Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement. “Until we reduce the spread and have high participation in vaccination, all Oregonians need to follow the guidelines in place in their counties. I am also asking Oregonians to continue practicing the measures we know are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 — wear your mask, keep physical distance from others, avoid gatherings, wash your hands often, and stay home when you’re sick.”

In the seven-day period between Wednesday, Dec. 9 and Tuesday, Dec. 15, Umatilla County Public Health reported 234 new cases of COVID-19.

The county needs to get down to less than 80 cases over a 14-day period for all elementary school students to return to classrooms, and about 40 cases per 14-day period to see middle school and high school students return.

On Dec. 9, the county reported the death of a 39-year-old Umatilla County man with underlying conditions who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Oct. 16 and died Nov. 1 at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Washington. On Dec. 15, it reported the death of an 89-year-old man who tested positive Nov. 20 and died Dec. 6 at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston.

According to Umatilla County Public Health’s website, since the pandemic began, 14.8% of the county’s COVID-19 cases have been under age 20. Just over 39% of cases have been age 20-39, 29.6% of cases have been age 40-59, 13.2% have been ages 60-79 and 2.6% have been over age 80. About 47% of cases have been female.

The website’s regional COVID-19 dashboard shows Umatilla County has had 4,946 COVID-19 cases and 53 deaths of individuals with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, while Morrow County has had 748 cases and seven deaths.

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