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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Timeline

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SALEM — Umatilla County will be placed in a “two-week caution period” for moving back to the high coronavirus risk category starting Friday, April 23, amid a sharp case spike over the past two weeks, according to a press release from Gov. Kate Brown’s office. Read more

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SALEM — Another person infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus has prompted yet another shutdown of floor sessions of the Oregon House. Read more

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SALEM — A proposed gun storage law that would be among the toughest in the U.S. is headed for a vote in the Oregon Legislature, with backers saying it will save lives and opponents contending it could lead to deaths. Read more

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PORTLAND — As states around the country lift COVID-19 restrictions, Oregon is poised to go the opposite direction — and many residents are fuming about the possibility. Read more

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ONTARIO — Lawyers and advocates say that the sweeping court order requiring reforms in Snake River Correctional Institution’s COVID protocols is a landmark. Read more

BAKER CITY — A 71-year-old Baker County woman who died on Wednesday, April 14 at a Boise hospital is the 14th county resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported. Read more

SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown on Friday, April 16 acknowledged the alarming rise of COVID-19 in Oregon -- which one new forecast predicts will exceed more than 1,200 new cases per day and 300 actively hospitalized patients in the next several weeks. Read more

PORTLAND — Oaks Amusement Park in Portland will open for the first time in a year on Saturday, April 17, the latest proof that Oregon’s tourism attractions and public spaces are beginning to stir after a year of pandemic shutdowns — and the latest test of public attitudes toward resuming pre… Read more

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GRANT COUNTY — Since March, three people from Grant County have died due to complications from COVID-19, according to local health officials. Two weeks into April, the county returned more positive test results than in any other month of the pandemic. Read more

SALEM — The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan promised “a commitment to health equity” where a person’s access to the potentially life-saving vaccine wasn’t dependent on their social class, race or ethnicity. Read more

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MISSION — On a frigid February morning, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation held its twice-monthly food distribution. With sheets of snow blanketing the ground from a recent snowstorm, members of the reservation worked hand-in-hand with distribution drivers from The Wa… Read more

SALEM — At the start of April, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called our current moment in the COVID-19 pandemic a “race” between the coronavirus and vaccines. Read more

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LA GRANDE — A popular bird watching event, which the COVID-19 pandemic grounded in 2020, takes flight again at the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area. Read more

JOHN DAY — Grant County had the highest rate of COVID-19 infections per capita in Oregon last week, and the county also has the worst vaccination rate in the state. Read more

PENDLETON — Eastern Oregon officials are raising concerns over vaccine hesitancy and adapting their efforts amid a national “pause” over the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while federal health regulators investigate six rare reports of blood clots in women ages 18 to 48. Read more

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Oregon’s jobless rate dropped slightly in March, according to new data released Tuesday from the Oregon Employment Department, falling a tenth of a percentage point to 6.0%. Read more

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Oregon has "paused" using the Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID-19 vaccine even though none of six newly reported severe reactions to the vaccine occurred in the state, health officials said Tuesday. Read more

SALEM — The Oregon Health Authority has asked the state’s vaccine providers to immediately stop administering the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, April 13. Read more

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MISSION — With more doses than appointments, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is once again expanding its eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more

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Problems in producing Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine will result in an 88% reduction in the amount sent to Oregon this week, similar to the blow dealt to all 49 other states. Read more

LEBANON — East Linn Christian athletic director and cross-country coach Kellen Peters has had a lot on his plate the past couple of months. Read more

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SALEM — The Oregon Health Authority reported a small number of cases on Thursday, April 8, where Oregonians who had received their full vaccinations later contracted COVID-19. Read more

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Though they weren't able to move to hybrid schedules for students as early as their Washington neighbors, now Milton-Freewater and Athena-Weston school districts are jumping to full days of in-person learning faster than most districts to the north. Read more

SALEM — Hundreds of commercial landlords and tenants who applied for state funding to cover unpaid rent went away empty-handed last month — a disappointment worth approximately $15.5 million. Read more

COVID-19 infection rates are rising again in Oregon, but the growing number of vaccinated residents will likely blunt the severity far short of last year's spikes, state health officials said Wednesday. Read more

PENDLETON — Umatilla County has been lowered from the high coronavirus risk category to moderate risk, Gov. Kate Brown announced on Tuesday, April 6, relaxing restrictions for indoor activities and commerce throughout the county as cases surge elsewhere in Oregon. Read more

HEPPNER — Fewer than 250 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 this week in the first two of eight clinics scheduled in Morrow County this month, raising concerns as officials push to use more than 2,000 doses in April. Read more

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PENDLETON — For the second year in a row, Pendleton Bike Week is canceled. Read more

SALEM — New COVID-19 case counts have plummeted in Oregon, but the state is experiencing a change in who is testing positive. Since January, the share of new cases in Oregonians aged 10 to 19 has grown by roughly 50% while the proportion of those aged 20 to 50 has shrunk, according to an ana… Read more

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Hot air balloons are expected to take flight October 13-17 for the 46th annual Walla Walla Balloon Stampede. The tradition was rescheduled then canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

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MISSION — In an unprecedented move, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is opening up its next COVID-19 vaccine clinic to all Umatilla County residents. Read more

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SALEM — Umatilla County’s COVID-19 risk level rating will go from high to moderate starting Friday, April 9, according to an announcement from Gov. Kate Brown on April 6. Read more

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PENDLETON — Umatilla County Public Health announced one new COVID-19-related death, according to a press release. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon legislators could force the state’s leading health agency to be more transparent by neutering a law that allows officials to conceal health information, including about the COVID-19 pandemic, that the public otherwise has a right to know. Read more

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PENDLETON — Pacific Power is offering customers in Umatilla County and elsewhere in the state options for recovering after falling behind on their power bills due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

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PENDLETON — The Pendleton Round-Up Association is projecting confidence in reviving its rodeo for 2021, but its board of directors isn’t yet sharing details on how it plans to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

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MISSION — Health officials with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation are planning to vaccinate over 1,700 people in a series of clinics at Wildhorse Resort & Casino with new groups eligible, according to a press release from the CTUIR. Read more

A year into the pandemic, and the steepest economic fall in Oregon history, placing a phone call to the Oregon Employment Department remains an onerous chore. Read more

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With skiers and snowboarders carving turns in fresh powder, feathery white clouds glittering in their wake, it was almost possible to forget there’s a pandemic going on. Read more

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Local vaccination clinics continue to expand into new eligibility groups as state guidance rushes forward to meet goals set by federal and state governments. Read more

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No later than Monday, Oregon will give the green light to a large swath of residents to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. Read more

LA GRANDE — Students in the La Grande School District are heading back to in-person learning every day of the week. Read more

BAKER CITY — A recent change to Oregon’s COVID-19 risk level system should allow Baker County to remain at the lowest level, with the least severe restrictions, through most of April even though the county’s case rate has nearly tripled in the past two weeks. Read more

SALEM — Oregon state health leaders have jumped at every opportunity to warn the public that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. That warning carries new weight this week as the state and nation brace for a possible fourth wave of infections. Read more

SALEM — COVID-19 infections are on the rise again in Oregon, a fourth wave of increasing cases since the pandemic began. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon’s top public health official urged the governor’s office last week to press the federal government to remedy an apparent widening disparity in the COVID-19 vaccine doses sent to Oregon compared to many other states. Read more

UMATILLA — A state judge last week ruled that staff at Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla demonstrated “deliberate indifference” after failing to adequately care for an inmate’s serious medical conditions for months and ordered the state to immediately take action, according to … Read more

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MORROW COUNTY — The Morrow County Public Health Department is partnering with state and federal officials to hold several COVID-19 vaccine clinics in the coming weeks. Read more

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SALEM — This week’s House floor sessions in Oregon have been spent listening to a computer program read hundreds of pages of proposed bills aloud after Republican lawmakers refused to accelerate the process. Read more

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Residents of rural areas think working from home is temporary and as soon as the threat of the pandemic ends, everyone will return to the office. Read more

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SALEM — The U. S. Department of Education has rejected Oregon’s request to completely waive standardized testing this spring. Read more

PENDLETON — One of the first things math teacher Michael Bittdorf noticed after Pendleton High School reopened its doors to all students on Monday, March 29, was the lower volume. Read more

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PENDLETON — Umatilla County Public Health announced on Wednesday, March 31, that Oregon Health Authority gave the county approval to start vaccinating people in Phase 1B Group 7 effective immediately. Morrow County was also among the counties given approval to move ahead. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — An ambulance service based in Eastern Oregon that often helps with wildfire victims has turned its attention to the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic that, unlike last year’s wildfires, has not yet subsided. Read more

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MILTON-FREEWATER — Milton-Freewater Municipal Golf Course is hosting its Golf Club Kick-Off Tournament on Saturday, April 3. Read more

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CORVALLIS — Oregon State coaches gave up their contractual bonuses this year as part of the cutbacks within athletics in order to offset pandemic budgetary losses. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon House Republicans said on Tuesday, March 30, that they will not use delaying tactics on budget bills when they come up for a vote. Read more

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Department of Motor Vehicles offices in Eastern Oregon counties plan to reopen in May. Read more

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ONTARIO — A state judge last week ordered officials at Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario to devise a plan to enforce mask use at the prison and to deploy mass testing after finding that the state’s treatment of two inmates reflected indifference during the COVID pandemic. Read more

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SALEM — The Oregon Legislature is moving to wipe out more than $300 million in state taxes triggered by federal stimulus payments, but it could take several months for 900,000 taxpayers to get all the money back. Read more

SALEM — A proposal for a bill to compel the state to keep aggregate data relating to reportable disease investigations as public information remains alive in the ongoing 2021 Oregon Legislature. Read more

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SALEM — The Oregon Health Authority cannot produce a written evaluation of a long-delayed phone application intended to slow COVID-19 by warning people about exposure to the coronavirus. Read more

BOARDMAN — Maria Corona knew she wanted to get the vaccine. Three months earlier, eight of her family members tested positive for COVID-19. So had many of her co-workers and neighbors. Read more

GENEVA — A joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is "extremely unlikely," according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press. Read more

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NEW YORK — The U.S. government’s first look at the real-world use of COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies. Read more

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MISSION — Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center will be holding another set of mass vaccination clinics at Wildhorse Resort & Casino at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, this time with more groups eligible, according to the health center’s website. Read more

SALEM — The Oregon House of Representatives will delay a floor session initially scheduled for Monday, March 29, after a second person who was in the Capitol building was diagnosed with coronavirus. Read more

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In a brightly lit classroom on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, sitting among other senior-aged language instructors, 84-year-old Viola Govenor closed her eyes and broke into song in Sahaptin, her native language. The melody rose and fell as the others listened intently to her impromptu song. There may not be many more times to hear it. Read more

BAKER CITY — Baker County is doing well, compared with Oregon’s 35 other counties, in vaccinating its residents against COVID-19. Read more

PENDLETON — Umatilla County government will be receiving $15.12 million from the most recent federal stimulus bill in response to the economic impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

UMATILLA COUNTY — Going into the Oregon Department of Education’s latest update on its COVID-19 rules, InterMountain Education Service District Superintendent Mark Mulvihill said Eastern Oregon administrators were looking for two things — reducing the social distancing requirement from 6 fee… Read more

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UMATILLA COUNTY — State and federal COVID-19 relief legislation will present more grant opportunities to businesses in April. Read more

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SALEM — Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism office, is providing $2.3 million in grants to fund projects across the state to help spur tourism as Oregon tries to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

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SALEM — Another week and another big promise from the Biden administration has Oregon speeding up its coronavirus vaccine timeline once again. Read more

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The state of Oregon is continuing to bar creditors and debt collectors from seizing federal stimulus payments sent to Oregonians. Read more

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SALEM — The co-leaders of the Oregon Legislature’s budget committee have laid out their framework for balancing the next two-year state budget with more than $2 billion in federal aid from President Joe Biden’s pandemic recovery plan. Read more

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UNION — Three years after rising from the ashes of a devastating fire, the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show is set to come out of the gate again. Read more

SALEM — The appearance in Oregon of a more contagious and virulent variant of the COVID-19 virus is concerning for health officials racing to vaccinate up to three million more Oregonians, after the state hit the one million vaccine mark on Wednesday, March 24. Read more

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PENDLETON — Officials in Umatilla and Morrow counties are ramping up vaccine efforts after receiving approval from the state on Monday, March 22, to broaden eligibility to agricultural workers immediately in an effort to help a workforce hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic. Read more

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Hermiston School District announced on Tuesday, March 23, that all students will return to in-person classes full time, five days a week starting April 13. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon’s new COVID-19 risk levels show improving conditions around the state as officials expect to pass the 1 million shot mark on vaccinations. Read more

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PORTLAND — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a 10-Point Economic Recovery Plan on Tuesday that aims to help families and businesses across the state —with a focus on people of color — impacted financially by the pandemic and 2020 wildfires. Read more

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SALEM — In yet another about face, the state announced Monday, March 22, that it would drastically reduce the amount of spacing required for students going back to school, to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more

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PENDLETON — Thirteen inmates at the Umatilla County Jail tested positive for COVID-19 last week, according to Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan. Read more

SALEM — Continuing with its plan to get vaccine doses into more arms across the state, the Oregon Health Authority announced Monday, March 22, that 13 counties can start giving doses to agricultural workers, people experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations. Read more

SALEM — The Oregon House will shut down for up to two weeks after reports of a positive COVID-19 case involving someone on the House floor last week. Read more

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BOARDMAN — The Boardman Chamber of Commerce announced that a COVID-19 vaccine clinic specifically geared toward farm and food processing workers will be held from Wednesday, March 24, through Saturday, March 27, at the Sage Center on Northeast 101 Olson Road in Boardman, according to a press… Read more