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Umatilla County still dealing with major COVID-19 outbreaks

Eastern Oregon's Umatilla County has more than a quarter of the state's workplace outbreaks, totaling more than 700 cases in 21 facilities.
Credit: KGW

PORTLAND, Ore. — Umatilla County is still dealing with major workplace outbreaks of COVID-19, the largest being 199 cases at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution.

Despite having a population of just 78,000 people, the county is home to 10 of the 21 largest active outbreaks in Oregon, and more than a quarter of the total active workplace outbreaks in the state. 

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in its weekly update on Wednesday reported a total of 21 active outbreaks in Umatilla County that have infected 725 people. The county's five resolved outbreaks, all of which were resolved by mid-July, had only infected 72 total people.

For comparison Clackamas County, which has more than five times the population of Umatilla County, is dealing with only seven active workplace outbreaks, totaling 136 cases. And its six resolved workplace outbreaks totaled 54 cases.

Interactive: Active workplace outbreaks in Umatilla County

Two weeks ago, Gov. Kate Brown put the county back under a stay-home order because of the spread of COVID-19 in the area. 

“The presence of correctional facilities and food packing and agricultural worksites on this list highlights the challenges of controlling COVID-19 in settings where people must work or live in proximity,” OHA said in the weekly report. 

Interactive: Active workplace outbreaks in Oregon

The outbreak at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton grew exponentially in the weeks after it was first reported. On July 15, OHA noted there were 14 cases there; on July 22, it had grown to 28 cases; on July 28 it was 69 cases; and on Aug. 5, 164 cases were reported there. This week it became the largest active workplace outbreak in the state with its reported 199 cases, with the most recent onset listed as Aug. 7.

RELATED: Here are the 80 active COVID-19 workplace outbreaks in Oregon

At Hermiston's Lamb Weston, an outbreak that's been steadily climbing since early June has reached 170 cases, with the most recent onset being Aug. 4.

Even if no new cases are reported at either place between then and now, these outbreaks will extend into September before there's a possibility of them being resolved.

Here's OHA's full list of active (Table 7) and resolved (Table 8) outbreaks

RELATED: Umatilla County moves back to stay-home status because of rising COVID-19 cases, Gov. Brown says