Walla Walla and Umatilla counties saw little change in COVID-19 activity Tuesday, although officials said one man diagnosed in August with the virus has died in Walla Walla.
The county’s most recent virus victim, a man in his 60s who was diagnosed with the illness on Aug. 18, was the sixth death in Walla Walla County connected with the coronavirus since the pandemic began in February.
The death was announced early Tuesday, but details didn’t emerge until later in the day. Officials said the man was in the hospital from the time of his mid-August diagnosis until his death this weekend.
As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the county reported no new cases of COVID-19, keeping the overall total at 941 people, 872 of whom are listed as recovered.
Currently 63 residents have active cases of the illness, one of whom is in the hospital. That count includes 15 inmates at Washington State Penitentiary, where an outbreak has infected 152 prisoners so far.
Umatilla County’s public health department reported five new people identified with the disease Tuesday, making the confirmed number of cases 2957, including 42 people with the coronavirus who have died.
Three people are currently in the hospital.
In Washington state, the total number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 reached 90,663 Tuesday with an additional 387 new cases and includes 2,165 deaths, up by seven people from Monday.
Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown announced the state is in line to receive additional rapid test kits for COVID-19 out of a 100 million tests expected to be divided out to states through the end of the year.
The additional tests will increase Oregon’s testing capacity by about 70,000 per week, Brown said. “With this increased testing capacity, we hope to be able to diagnose more people quickly so they can get the care they need. We want to identify more cases of COVID so we can also isolate and quarantine people, helping contain the virus,” Brown said.
“We will also use them to prioritize testing for our most vulnerable communities, such as our migrant and agriculture workers, our communities of color and our seniors.”
The governor said that while the news is “huge,” there is no testing the pandemic away, and test availability alone won’t ensure the reopening of schools.
Health experts and school administrators will be reevaluating Oregon’s school metrics in the coming weeks, and an update can be expected soon, Brown said.
For the safety for Oregon students, tests also will be distributed to school-based health centers and other health care partners working with K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, to support the testing of symptomatic students and staff, close contacts of cases and to investigate outbreaks, she added.
The Oregon Health Authority will maintain a strategic reserve of tests to address outbreaks beyond December, in case the federal government runs low on testing supplies.
Oregon Health Authority staff reported nine more virus-related deaths around the state, upping the total to 581. Officials also said there are another 301 confirmed and presumed diagnoses of the coronavirus, making a total of 35,340 Oregonians who have tested positive for the disease.
At least 2,680 residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the state health agency.