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Another resident dies, dozens more infected in the Walla Walla Valley

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A 74-year-old Umatilla County man with underlying health conditions was the fifth person in the county to die from COVID-19, officials said today.

And dozens more in Umatilla and Walla Walla counties have become infected.

The Umatilla County man tested positive June 21 and died Friday at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston, according to the county Public Health Department.

Additionally, 64 new positive cases since Friday were reported by the department today. Officials were in contact with those people to determine the origins of their illness.

The county has six hospitalized patients as well as 235 active cases, 257 recovered, 34 presumptive-positive cases, 463 confirmed cases and 497 total cases since the coronavirus hit the county.

"Individuals are considered recovered when they are at least 10 days from illness onset and have been free from symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath and diarrhea for 72 hours," a release stated.

The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health saw 12 new cases over the weekend, bringing a total today of 164 since the virus hit the area.

Meghan DeBolt, county health director, said this morning that new cases were from residents traveling out of town for work or other reasons, as well as household exposure, and not from visitors.

She also said the county may be asked to wait a week by state health officials before it can move into Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee's reopening plan. The county's application to move into a modified Phase 3 was in review as of this morning, she said.

There are 41 active cases in Walla Walla County, with 38 patients isolating at home and three hospitalized. There have been three deaths and 126 recoveries since March.

Cities of residence include 105 in Walla Walla, 26 in Burbank/Wallula, 22 in College Place, seven in Prescott and four in Touchet/Lowden.

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Emily Thornton can be reached at or 509-526-8325.

Emily Thornton covers courts and emergency services, as well as other various stories. She has been in the newspaper industry off and on since roughly 1999 and lived primarily on the West Coast, but also Florida and Europe.