LA GRANDE — Union County has reported nearly 200 COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, showing signs that cases are beginning to lull slightly from peak totals in mid-August.

That’s an average of roughly 15 cases per day, according to data from the Oregon Health Authority.

Meanwhile, the county has also reported four more COVID-19 deaths, raising its overall death toll to 35 since the pandemic started.

Like other Eastern Oregon counties, its test positivity rate has remained stubbornly high compared to counties in Western Oregon, which overwhelmingly have higher vaccination rates. Less than 44% of Union County residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

Cases have waned slightly in many parts of Eastern Oregon over the past week after the delta variant tore through the region in August and rocked Oregon’s health care system. At Union County’s Grande Ronde Hospital, every one of the 30 COVID-19 patients admitted in July and August was unvaccinated, according to hospital data.

In the week ending Aug. 15, Union County reported a case rate that was more than four times higher than Washington County and a test positivity rate that was twice as high. The Portland metro county has over 574,000 more people than Union County.

Since then, Union County’s case rate, and total weekly cases, have more than halved. Neighboring counties, like Umatilla and Baker, continue to report higher case rates and positive test rates.

Nearly 10% of all Union County residents have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic started in March 2020, according to state data.

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