Providence St. Mary Medical Center sign

Umatilla County has had two more COVID-19 deaths, officials said Thursday, Sept 9, bringing the death toll there to 120 victims.

Walla Walla County also confirmed two such deaths Thursday. Two men, one in his 50s and one in his 80s, died after testing positive for the illness, officials said.

Umatilla County health officials said a 73-year-old man with other health issues was diagnosed with the virus on Aug. 20 and died Aug. 30 at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston.

An 86-year-old man with other health conditions tested positive on Aug. 16 and died Saturday, Sept. 3, at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

The county has 119 new cases of COVID-19, 635 active cases and 12,117 cases in total.

About 67% of Oregonians have completed their vaccination; in Umatilla County, 28,654 residents have had all the needed shots, while 3,784 people are in the process.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, new information has been added to the state’s public data. The “Hospitalization by Facility” tab shows all Oregon hospitals that are reporting COVID-19 positive patients in hospital beds, including intensive care beds, and allows for searching by individual counties.

In Umatilla County, Good Shepherd in Hermiston reported 10 patients and St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton reported fewer than 10 COVID-19 patients in a rolling seven-day average; data showed both hospitals had patients with the virus in ICU beds.

OHA said tracking the seven-day average number of COVID-19 positive patients at separate hospitals can provide more information about the burden on local facilities.

Walla Walla County’s Department of Community Health said this week on social media that on multiple occasions, Providence St. Mary Medical Center has reported zero available beds on the medical floor and in ICU.

In the county, positive cases have increased more than 580% from May 1-Aug. 31. August had the most cases in a one-month period with a count of nearly 1,100 since the COVID-19 pandemic began — most of those residents were exposed through an unvaccinated contact, officials said.

On Wednesday, 22 people — 17 are Walla Walla County residents and two live in Umatilla County, three were from outside those two counties — were hospitalized in Walla Walla with the coronavirus; 20 of them are unvaccinated and all five virus patients in ICU beds are unvaccinated.

According to the Washington state Department of Corrections, eight inmates at Washington State Penitentiary have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 30 days, five are currently active cases, for a total of 1,005 men. Among staff, 348 people have tested positive, five of those have active cases of the disease.

In the county’s total of 7,491 people who have had the illness, including 79 who have died — the state Department of Health is reporting 81 deaths— 2,968 people have been in the 20-39 age group, the highest demographic represented.

The county has 495 active cases.

A vaccine clinic is scheduled 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 11, at Walla Walla Public Library. Drop in or register at

Sheila Hagar can be reached at or 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.

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