This story has been updated to reflect additional information about the latest fatalities.
Umatilla County health officials Thursday reported two more people with underlying health conditions who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
These new deaths, four just this week, mean 15 people with the coronavirus have died here since the disease hit the county in February.
In Walla Walla County, COVID-19 case numbers jumped 10 people Thursday, from 312 Wednesday to 322, health officials said, noting that 78 people have active cases of the disease.
In tracking transmission trends within Walla Walla County from July 8 to Wednesday, officials said about 53% of the total COVID-19 cases can be traced to household members living with someone who tested positive; 20% to work sites; about 12% to travel exposure and about 7% each to social gatherings and unknown causes.
Currently, Umatilla County has the highest per capita COVID-19 rates in Oregon, with 185 cases per 10,000 residents and 17% of tests proving positive in the county’s population of about 81,000, according to Oregon public health records.
As well, 44 more residents were diagnosed with the disease since Wednesday, meaning 269 people in Umatilla County have been identified as testing positive this week and a total of 1,453 since the start of the pandemic.
The two virus-related deaths reported Thursday include a 69-year-old man who tested positive July 8 and died at his home Tuesday, and an 87-year-old woman who was diagnosed with the illness July 16 and died Wednesday at a Hermiston nursing home.
Officials say another 95 people in the county are expected to test positive, based on their symptoms and exposure to the disease. Three more people have been admitted to the hospital with the disease since Wednesday, for a total of 16, according to county health data.
Milton-Freewater has now had 26 residents diagnosed with the disease, a jump of eight people from the 18 over the past few weeks.
Walla Walla County’s virus numbers in residents, broken down by city, are as follows:
Walla Walla — 203
College Place — 43
Burbank area — 48
Prescott – 20
Touchet-Lowden — 6
Dixie — 2
The county’s Department of Community Health said on social media the number of people getting COVID-19 every day in Washington is higher now than it has ever been, hospitalization rates are rising throughout the state and the increase in the number of young adults getting the virus is leading to an increase in the number of children and teens who are also getting COVID-19.
The disease is threatening to spread broadly into younger and older age groups in Washington, as has happened in Florida, officials said.