Coronavirus (COVID-19) Timeline

UNION — Union County received encouraging news on the COVID-19 front. Read more

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PORTLAND — State officials say despite a fourth surge and rising numbers of patients hospitalized because of COVID-19, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will ease restrictions by allowing “indoor full-contact sports” to restart by the end of the week. Read more

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SALEM — Union County is moving down to the lower risk category for COVID-19 beginning Friday, April 23. Read more

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SALEM — The Oregon Health Authority will deploy vaccination vans to hard-to-reach communities as a way to eliminate the disparities created between those with easy access to COVID-19 vaccines and those facing barriers. Read more

ASTORIA — Students in the Astoria School District will not have to participate in state testing this year. Read more

LA GRANDE — Swimmers in Union and Baker counties will have more opportunities to make a splash this summer than they did a year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic was near its height. Read more

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LA GRANDE — The La Grande School Board is asking Gov. Kate Brown to make a decision that would have a dramatic effect on high school graduation ceremonies across the state. Read more

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LA GRANDE — The Union County Board of Commissioners is tackling a challenge that likely will prove difficult yet fulfilling. Read more

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JOHN DAY — Grant County had the highest rate of COVID-19 infections per capita in Oregon last week, and the county also has the worst vaccination rate in the state. Read more

NORTHEAST OREGON — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Union and Wallowa counties’ school districts and their students to travel a rugged and harmful path the past 13 months. Read more

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North Powder — The North Powder School District is going to an online learning model effective Thursday, April 15, after more than 30 students were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon has “paused” using the Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID-19 vaccine even though none of six newly reported severe reactions to the vaccine occurred in the state, health officials said Tuesday, April 13. Read more

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MISSION — The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation has opened its two-day mass vaccination event to any resident 16 and older who resides in the 11 counties that span the CTUIR ceded territory. Read more

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SALEM — So far 168 Oregonians have tested positive for the coronavirus despite being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, leaving 19 hospitalized and three dead — figures so small that officials said they were “good news.” Read more

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SALEM — Facing a “fourth wave” of COVID-19, Oregon will drop eligibility restrictions for COVID-19 vaccinations April 19, up to two weeks earlier than planned. Read more

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SALEM — All Oregonians age 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 19, a week earlier than the previous earliest date, Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday. Read more

ISLAND CITY — The COVID-19 pandemic will not sideline Shelter From the Storm’s popular and long-running Soup Supper fundraiser this spring. Read more

LA GRANDE — Plenty of La Grande School District educators and students are thrilled with the move back to in-person learning every day starting Monday, April 12. Read more

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A recent change to Oregon’s COVID-19 risk level system should allow Baker County to remain at the lowest level, with the least severe restrictions, through most of April even though the county’s case rate has nearly tripled in the past two weeks. Read more

LA GRANDE — Students in the La Grande School District are heading back to in-person learning every day of the week. Read more

PORTLAND — As vaccine administration continues to ramp up in Oregon, health officials said Friday, April 2, they are concerned about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the state and variants of the virus. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon plans to pay the outstanding rent of more than 2,600 businesses and then offer another round of aid to businesses in need. Read more

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LA GRANDE — The latest round of personal stimulus money may not be making its way into local businesses. Read more

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LA GRANDE — Union County has received approval to start vaccinating people in Phase 1B Group 7 immediately. Read more

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LA GRANDE — Another person died from COVID-19 in Union County. Read more

MISSION — Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center will be holding another set of mass vaccination clinics at Wildhorse Resort & Casino at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, this time with more groups eligible, according to the health center’s website. Read more

SALEM — The appearance in Oregon of a more contagious and virulent variant of the COVID-19 virus is concerning for health officials racing to vaccinate up to 3 million more Oregonians, after the state hit the 1 million vaccine mark on Wednesday, March 24. Read more

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SALEM — A proposal for a bill to compel the state to keep aggregate data relating to reportable disease investigations as public information remains alive in the ongoing 2021 Oregon Legislature. Read more

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PORTLAND — A Portland landmark announced it will close at the end of June, citing a loss of revenue brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

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UNION COUNTY — Union County will receive $5.2 million from the federal COVID-19 aid bill President Joe Biden recently signed. Shelley Burgess, Union County’s administrative officer, said that is at least twice as much as the county received in CARES funding from the federal government in 2020. Read more

PORTLAND — You can’t blame John Helmer for being a sunny optimist. The third-generation proprietor of John Helmer Haberdasher in downtown Portland will celebrate the family store’s 100th birthday this year. It has survived depression, world war, and the advent of Amazon. Read more

SALEM — Oregon’s new COVID-19 risk levels show improving conditions around the state as officials expect to pass the one million shot mark on vaccinations. Read more

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PORTLAND — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday, March 22, announced a 10-Point Economic Recovery Plan that aims to help families and businesses across the state —with a focus on people of color — impacted financially by the pandemic and 2020 wildfires. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon relaxes school safety guidelines — again Read more

LA GRANDE — Kirk Shira has been making regular 45-mile drives from his home in Baker City to La Grande for the past 12 months, only to finish, until recently, just a foot short of where he desperately wanted to be each time. Read more

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JOSEPH — The ashes of a Wallowa County 911 dispatcher and reserve deputy were delivered by police escort to his parents’ Joseph home Friday, March 12, and a special “last call” over the county’s 911 system was issued for Bret Bridges. Read more

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SALEM — More than 1 million new people will be added early to the eligibility list for COVID-19 vaccinations, Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday morning. Read more

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LA GRANDE —The Union County Board of Commissioners took action Wednesday, March 17, guaranteed to create a buzz at the Oregon Capitol. Read more

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. — The Walla Walla Veterans Affairs now is moving into its next phase of offering COVID-19 vaccinations to all eligible veterans in all age groups and at all clinic locations (Walla Walla, Richland and Yakima in Washington, Lewiston, Idaho, and La Grande). Read more

SALEM — A New York Times review of COVID-19 cases published March 2 shows 3,189 cases of the disease linked to Oregon colleges since February 2020. Read more

SALEM — With a third of the session gone, the Oregon Legislature has 4,000 bills on its plate, with House Republicans using a parliamentary slowdown to delay legislation already running late because of COVID-19. Read more

MISSION — Seventeen people cited for violating COVID-19 social gathering restrictions during a 2020 Easter day feast were found not guilty on Tuesday, March 9, by Associate Tribal Judge Dave Gallaher. Read more

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SALEM — All adults in Oregon will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations as of May 1 under a binding order from the Biden administration. Read more

ELGIN — One of Elgin’s most popular annual events will rev up again this spring after a one-year hiatus. Read more

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SALEM — More than 1 million more people will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines in the next two upcoming eligibility phases, state officials said Tuesday, March 16. Read more

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SALEM — Local landlords with business tenants behind in rents can get some financial help from the state. Read more

SALEM — Oregon is considering letting schools pack students more tightly into classrooms, which would allow students to get more hours of in-person instruction, but will move slowly even if the best science says it would be safe, a top public health official said Friday, March 12. Read more

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BAKER CITY — Nick Cripe found himself with some extra time between jobs as a firefighter and paramedic. Read more

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LA GRANDE — Fans will not be attending Eastern Oregon Football games in person this season. The Frontier Conference presidents and athletic directors voted last week to continue the policy prohibiting spectators at games for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. Read more

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The 68 teams whose names popped up in the March Madness bracket only thought it was time to celebrate: The next four or five days figure to be the most nerve-wracking part of their seasons. Read more

UNION COUNTY — The Oregon Health Authority reported a 43-year-old man in Union County died this week from COVID-19. He became the 20th victim to die of the disease in the county and the 2,314th victim statewide. Read more

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UNION COUNTY — The Oregon Health Authority reported a 43-year-old man in Union County died this week from COVID-19. He became the 20th victim to die of the disease in the county and the 2,314th victim statewide. Read more

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LA GRANDE — The Union County Fair may ride again this summer. Read more

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LA GRANDE — Eastern Oregon University announced it will not raise tuition for current undergraduate students in 2021-22. Read more

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SALEM — Counties that might fall back into the state’s most restrictive extreme risk level for COVID-19 spread will be given a two-week grace period on heightened restrictions, Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday, March 4. Read more

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LA GRANDE — The city of La Grande announced the reopening of city hall. Read more

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PORTLAND — Spring break is coming back to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the museum pulling out a crowd pleaser to welcome people back. Read more

MISSION — The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation vaccinated nearly 1,000 people at a two-day clinic last week at Wildhorse Resort & Casino near Pendleton. Read more

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ELGIN — An outbreak of COVID-19 is sending Elgin School District junior and high school students back to distance learning. Read more

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SALEM — Every Oregon county will receive 100 doses this week of the new Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine that President Joe Biden said Tuesday, March 2, is a key part of vaccinating all Americans before summer. Read more

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PORTLAND — The electronic system for booking COVID-19 vaccinations in the Portland area reached its boiling point this week — not only for many thousands of embittered seniors who tried unsuccessfully for hours to schedule appointments on a slow-moving and glitchy website, but for state lead… Read more

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — With the U.S. vaccination drive picking up speed and a third formula on the way, states eager to reopen for business are easing coronavirus restrictions despite warnings from health experts that the outbreak is far from over and that moving too quickly could prolong the misery. Read more

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SALEM — Every adult in Oregon will be offered a vaccination against COVID-19 by July 1, with the two-shot vaccines reaching all adults who want it by August, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday, Feb. 26. Read more

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UNION COUNTY — Friday, Feb. 26, Union County restaurants can open their doors to dine-in service once again. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon vaccinates teachers before seniors. Read more

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LA GRANDE — Cook Memorial Library in La Grande remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but its staff continues opening new literary worlds for readers. Read more

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UMATILLA COUNTY — Oregon’s first COVID-19-related death of a child between 0-9 years old has occurred — an infant boy from Umatilla County. Read more

LA GRANDE — The inventory list is one Audrey Smith may want to frame. Read more

UNION COUNTY — COVID-19 cases in Union County eased down since Feb. 5, according to data from the Oregon Health Authority. But since then the disease claimed its 19th victim in the county. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — Steven Busch wasn’t concerned about getting the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Read more

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SALEM — Two members of an Oregon group charged with deciding who gets coronavirus vaccines next received racist, hateful and upsetting messages, prompting state officials to close public access to the group’s last two meetings, state officials revealed Friday, Feb. 5. Read more

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SALEM — Twelve counties will see fewer COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and activities beginning Friday, Feb. 12, as the state dropped risk level ratings for counties due to a decline in new infections. Read more

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LA GRANDE — Eastern Oregon University reported it conducted more than 1,200 COVID-19 tests in January and just 2% turned up positive. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — The Oregon Health Authority reported Wallowa County had a fourth death related to COVID-19. Read more

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SALEM — The gap between COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and availability will make for a chaotic start to age-based inoculations this week. Read more

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BAKER COUNTY — Baker County dropped from the extreme-risk level under the state’s COVID-19 guidelines to high risk on Friday, Feb. 5, Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett said. Read more

UNION COUNTY — Due to continued spread of COVID-19, Union County has once again missed the mark to escape categorization as “extreme risk” under Oregon’s risk and protection framework. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon’s population growth has been slowing for several years, but in 2020 the state hit a remarkable milestone – deaths appear to have outnumbered births for the first time on record. Read more

BAKER CITY — A Baker City couple are urging the city council to consider passing a resolution endorsing the idea that businesses should be able to set their own safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

SALEM — As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to teachers and health care workers continues and the vaccination of seniors age 65 and older approaches, recommendations were put forward this week by a state advisory committee about who should be next in line. Read more

LONDON — The legacy of Capt. Tom Moore, the super fundraiser who died Tuesday, Feb. 2, of COVID-19, lives on in Imogen Papworth-Heidel — and many others. Read more

SALEM — Face masks and social distancing are likely to remain a fixture of the shopping and working experience for some time, according to the state’s employee safety department. Read more

PORTLAND— The rate of hunger in Oregon has nearly doubled since the pandemic began in early 2020. According to Oregon State University research, the number of people worried about feeding their families went from about one-in-nine to between one-in-four or five Oregonians. Read more

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SALEM — A federal judge late Tuesday, Feb. 2, ordered Oregon officials to offer state prison inmates COVID-19 vaccines, immediately. Read more

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden told House Democrats on Wednesday he’s “not married” to an absolute number on his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan but Congress needs to “act fast” on relief for the pandemic and the economic crisis. Read more

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LA GRANDE — Union County’s public health arm, the Center for Human Development, will hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Thursday, Feb. 4, at 2301 Cove Ave., La Grande. Read more

VALE — Vale High School will shut down classes beginning Monday, Feb. 1, in response to a growing COVID-19 outbreak. Read more

SALEM — New pandemic modeling from the Oregon Health Authority, the Centre for Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases and others indicates COVID-19 is on the decline across Oregon and could continue to taper off into the coming months, returning to levels not seen in months. Read more

ENTERPRISE — All of the residents and staff of Wallowa County’s five long-term care facilities who wanted them have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more

The deadliest month of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. drew to a close with certain signs of progress: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are plummeting, while vaccinations are picking up speed. Read more

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UNION COUNTY — The COVID-19 death toll in Union County grew to 18 over the weekend. Read more

LA GRANDE — The hallways and classrooms of La Grande High School are coming back to life. Read more

UNION COUNTY — Even as the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ebb across Oregon and locally, Union County will remain under the state’s most stringent public health measures — as it has since mid-November — until at least Feb. 11. Read more

BAKER COUNTY — Baker County might have met one of the two requirements to move down from extreme to high on the state’s COVID-19 risk level starting Friday, Jan. 29. Read more

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WALLOWA COUNTY — Wallowa County has been one of the regions of the state least-hit by COVID-19, but late Tuesday, Jan. 26, Oregon Health Authority reported one more case of the coronavirus, which is the 100th in the county since the start of the pandemic last year. Only three counties have h… Read more

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SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday, Jan. 28, ordered 32,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines redirected to the Portland area instead of going to other parts of the state. Read more

SALEM — Oregon began vaccinating teachers for COVID-19 on Monday, Jan. 25, but farmworkers and other workers considered to be essential will have to wait until May under the state’s latest schedule. Read more

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COVE — The sleepy little town of Cove has been a bit less sleepy in the past couple of weeks. Read more

HERMISTON — Early in the pandemic, Jose Garcia said most of the stories told about COVID-19 on Radio La Ley’s “La Voz Del Pueblo” (The Voice of the People) were of fear and misconception. Read more

LA GRANDE — The city council of La Grande held its annual work retreat, which this year took the form of two nights of hours-long video conferences, to discuss priorities for the coming year. Read more

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