COVID.jpg

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S.

LA GRANDE — Union County had two more cases of COVID-19 Tuesday but announced no cases Wednesday, putting the overall total at 385, the Center for Human Development reported.

The state, meanwhile, moved past 15,000 known cases and reported seven more fatalities Tuesday and two Wednesday related to the virus, according to the Oregon Health Authority. There are now 271 deaths in Oregon attributed to COVID-19.

The state has 15,393 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19. OHA officially reported 299 confirmed and presumptive cases Tuesday and 264 Wednesday. It’s the third day in a row there have been fewer than 300 new cases, the longest such stretch since July 6-8.

Next-door Umatilla County had 59 more cases Tuesday and 24 Wednesday to move to 1,462, while Baker County had two cases Tuesday and one Wednesday, and is at 16 total. Wallowa County stayed at 18 cases.

Union County still reports 46 recovered cases, though OHA is not actively contacting patients to check their recovery status. Deschutes County has the highest reported recovery rate in Oregon at 65% (253 out of 387 cases).

The statewide testing average ticked up to 4.16% Tuesday then briefly retreated to 4.14% Wednesday. There have been 14,586 positive tests out of the 351,987 total tests performed. More than 7,500 test results were processed between the Tuesday and Wednesday updates.

The positive rate still is less than half the national average, which as of Wednesday was 9.24% out of more than 50 million tests processed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Union County’s positive rate has dropped to 13.96%, with 352 positive results out of 2,522 total tests processed. The county has tested about 9.4% of its citizens, the 10th-highest rate in the state, according to OHA data.

Statewide hospitalization numbers have maintained roughly the same level. The OHA website Tuesday cited 19 new hospitalizations, and 27 more were reported Wednesday. The number of individuals in an Oregon hospital with either confirmed or presumptive cases is 231. The number with confirmed cases is 166.

Individual county hospitalization information have been vague, but according to the Oregon Health Authority, the number of hospitalizations in Union County has decreased over the prior two weeks. Grande Ronde Hospital, La Grande, has been listed as having “1-9” cases on the weekly OHA report each of the last five weeks.

Individuals 60 and older now make up 17.7% of all cases of the virus, a number that has continued to decrease in recent weeks. Those younger than 40 account for 52.5% of cases. The 20-29-year-old window ticked up to 21.5% of the total cases, accounting for over 600 more than the next demographic (30-39-year-olds). On its own, the 20-29 group accounts for nearly as many cases as those younger than 10 and 60 and older combined (3,311 vs. 3,339).

The overall mortality rate of known cases in Oregon has dropped to 1.76%. This is below half the national rate, which is at 3.65%, according to data from the CDC website.

Lane and Deschutes counties are among those that has passed Union County in terms of overall cases. Lane Wednesday was at 407, and Deschutes had 387. Overall, Union County has the ninth-most cases in Oregon, and is fourth in per-capita cases behind Umatilla, Morrow and Malheur counties.

Five Oregon counties have more than 1,000 cases, and an additional five have at least 300 cases. There are 16 counties that have less than 100 cases, and Wheeler County is the only one that has yet to report a case of the coronavirus.

OHA on Tuesday announced it has set up an online test site locator to help individuals find where to get tested. It’s available at healthoregon.org/covid19testing.

OHA’s weekly reports also have begun to help show more specifically where the virus has been identified in Union County.

The July 15 and July 22 reports, which tracks data through the prior Sunday, listed 10 cases of COVID-19 in Elgin’s 97827 ZIP code, making it the second ZIP code in the county known to have at least 10 cases.

The La Grande and Island City ZIP code of 97850 had 324 cases through Sunday, when the county total was at 383. Cases in Elgin for weeks had been listed as “1-9,” which the OHA report uses for localities with single digits.

Union and Cove ZIP codes — 97883 and 97824, respectively — both have that ominous “1-9” listed next to them.

The ZIPs for Summerville, Imbler and North Powder are not listed, as their counts are combined with the rest of the state’s ZIP codes that have a population of less than 1,000.

If the other 49 cases were split evenly among the towns, each would have an average count of 9.8 cases. If the maximum that Union and Cove each could currently have — nine — is removed from the total, the average of the three smaller towns is 10.3, meaning at least one of the towns has 10 or more cases.

East Region Sports Editor

Ronald's primary beats are Eastern Oregon University, La Grande High School and the other eight high schools of Union and Wallowa counties. As an avid sports fan, he is primarily reading about or watching sports when he isn't covering a game.

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