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WW COVID-19 numbers jump by 13

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Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston (copy)

Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston.

Walla Walla County’s Department of Community Health reported a total of 345 residents diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Saturday, up 13 from Friday’s totals. Eighty-six of those are active cases while 256 have recovered.

The majority of people testing positive for the illness have been in the 20-39 age group, with 141 cases tallied in that range.

Most of the people falling ill have been from the city of Walla Walla with 221 cases logged.

As of Friday, 51,849 residents of Washington have had COVID-19; 1,494 of those have died with the disease.

Meanwhile, Umatilla County had its 16th death from COVID-19. An 85-year-old man died Friday at Regency Hermiston Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus July 16.

Hermiston is the county’s hottest virus spot, according to Oregon state data published Wednesday: 841 residents there have tested positive for the disease, equaling about 332 cases per 10,000 people.

Outbreaks are at a number of Hermiston job sites, including Lamb Weston with 142 employees diagnosed with the disease, Medelez Trucking, Walmart, Marlette Homes and 15 employees at Good Shepherd Medical Center, which also had 10 patients with COVID-19 from July 13 through Sunday, officials said.

Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton has had 28 people with the disease, according to the state’s numbers.

Milton-Freewater has had 26 residents diagnosed with the illness, while Weston and Athena remain in the one-to-nine category.

In Oregon 16,104 residents have had the virus, including 369 people Friday, and 282 related deaths, according to the Oregon Health Authority website.

Umatilla County now has 322 people with active cases of COVID-19, officials said, including 10 who are hospitalized.

Since the pandemic began here in February, 1,525 people have been diagnosed with the virus, and another 99 people are showing signs of the illness and have had exposure to it, health department employees said.

Community spread throughout the state can be attributed to the newest cases, many linked to July 4 gatherings, said Oregon Health Director Patrick Allen in a media briefing Friday.

Allen said Oregon’s Latino residents are most affected, and that people in the 20-29 age range are counting for 22% of cases right now.

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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.