COVID-19 testing

Washington state health officials are urging people without symptoms of or close-contact exposure to COVID-19 to wait to get tested for now so those who are showing signs can be processed first.

The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health reported 24 new COVID-19 cases Friday, with the death toll holding at 18.

The county’s case total is 1,946 since March, when the pandemic first spread to the county.

Twelve people were hospitalized Friday, part of the 510 active cases count. That number includes 58 men living at Washington State Penitentiary

As of Friday, 1,418 people are considered recovered.

Walla Walla County has a 15% test positivity rate. For the period of Oct. 27-Nov. 9, there were 783 cases per 100,000 people. The county is in Phase 2 of the state’s four-stage Safe Start reopening plan.

Details about the plan as well as where COVID-19 testing is available locally is on the county Department of Health website at ubne.ws/2TepePQ .

Umatilla County Public Health, at ubne.ws/3kPUzBk,  reported 44 additional COVID-29 cases Friday, with no new deaths.

The county’s case total is 4,013, including 48 deaths.

The county is no longer reporting active case or daily hospitalization numbers.

Columbia County Public Health, at ubne.ws/3lT4xD7, has not updated COVID-19 case numbers since Nov. 2.

State numbers

Washington state's Department of Health reported 2,132 new COVID-19 cases and 16 more deaths Friday.

The total case count is now 139,543, with 2,619 deaths and at least 9,653 related hospitalizations.

Health officials urged all residents to limit their holiday celebrations to only members of their immediate households.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or has had close contact with someone who is infected — or is suspected of being infected — should get tested immediately.

People without symptoms are being asked to refrain from seeking tests. Demand for COVID-19 testing has increased across the state as disease transmission continues to rise, officials said Friday. The state's COVID-19 dashboard is at ubne.ws/392QS91 .

To ensure testing access for people with symptoms or those who have had close contacts, officials urge the general public to not seek screening tests in order to attend Thanksgiving celebrations.

Oregon Health Authority, at ubne.ws/3lUnBRt, reported another record high of 1,306 new cases and four new deaths Friday.

The state’s total case count is now 62,175 and 812 deaths.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across Oregon decreased to 412 Friday, two fewer than Thursday. There are 91 COVID-19 patients in Intensive Care Unit beds, five fewer than Thursday.

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Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 509-526-8322.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers health, social services and city government in Milton-Freewater, Athena and Weston in the Walla Walla Valley.