Coronavirus (COVID-19) Timeline

SALEM — High school sports in Oregon will not kick off until 2021. Read more

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The bar has been lowered for reopening smaller schools this fall as Oregon continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

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The second special session of the Oregon Legislature on Monday careened between boredom and anger, spiritual quotes and name calling as it dragged on from early morning into the night. Read more

Thousands of Oregonians who await unemployment benefits, whose claims were denied or who never filed in the first place will soon have a chance to obtain one-time $500 checks from a state fund. Read more

Gov. Kate Brown announced a new source of financial assistance Aug. 1 for agricultural workers who need to self-quarantine during COVID-19. Read more

Oregon lawmakers approved $94 million more to expand coronavirus testing and contact tracing, but deadlocked on $105 million more for the state to buy personal protective equipment for distribution to counties and tribes. Read more

Agriculture groups expect to play defense during the upcoming special legislative session on Oregon’s budget, when natural resources spending will likely go under the knife. Read more

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The Oregon School Activities Association executive board voted today to move high school football and other fall sports to the spring of 2021. Read more

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The pandemic foiled a football game but it proved no match for the generosity of Baker County ranchers and farmers, and Shriners and other volunteers across Oregon. Read more

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The percentage of positive COVID-19 tests cases hit their highest levels in four months, state health officials reported Monday. Read more

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LA GRANDE — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has voted to move its football championship to the spring of 2021, just as it did with the rest of its fall sports. Read more

LA GRANDE — Union County has been moved from the governor's county watch list and deemed by the state to have its spread of COVID-19 under control. Read more

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Only a third of Oregonians believe the state is "going in the right direction," and the majority support racial justice protests and police reforms, according to a new statewide survey. Read more

While the nation passed 150,000 deaths from COVID-19, there were some relatively encouraging numbers about a decline of the infection rate in Oregon and a plateau of the high numbers of infections across the country. Read more

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The acting director of the Oregon Employment Department confirmed Wednesday that overpayments have been made to some people who are working reduced hours, but who also draw unemployment benefits under a state program that offsets their wage losses. Read more

In order to resume in-person school this fall, Oregon counties and the state as a whole must meet a low threshold of COVID-19 cases that only one county currently meets, according to a new mandate issued Tuesday by Gov. Kate Brown. Read more

ENTERPRISE — With fire season fast approaching, the American Red Cross is looking for volunteers in Wallowa County, and with the added challenge of COVID-19, there is an even bigger need for help this year. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — Recent tightening of restrictions on going about in public is not likely to have a great effect on Wallowa County business, most proprietors contacted said, largely because the county rolls up its sidewalks early. Read more

ENTERPRISE — Some 22 Wallowa County residents have signed up to report their temperature and other COVID-19 symptoms for up to one year as part of a statewide research study that is measuring the virus’ prevalence throughout Oregon, according to a press release. Read more

ENTERPRISE — With COVID-19 on the doorstep of Wallowa County, it’s become evident that the Oregon Health Authority is Wallowa County’s de facto public health department, with no local department of public health. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — A woman upset that she was required to wear a face mask at Ace Hardware in Enterprise was "trespassed" when she refused to get a mask or leave the premises, Friday, July 24, according to a Wallowa County Sheriff’s deputy. Read more

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The executive board of the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), which regulates high school sports in the state, decided after a three-day work session this week to delay high school football, including practices, indefinitely. Read more

WALLOWA COUNTY — The revenue government agencies receive from local transient/motel taxes may be another area plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a falling number of stays at motels means fewer tax dollars. Read more

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SALEM — All K-12 students in Oregon will be required to wear face coverings if they return to classrooms this fall, according to a new state mandate. All school staff in K-12 schools will also be required to wear face coverings, such as masks or shields. Read more

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Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday ordered bars to close earlier, lowered the age for mask requirements, further limited crowd sizes and said she may impose travel restrictions. Read more

SALEM — Aiding financially crippled businesses and the impact of alcoholism on public health were the center of debate Tuesday, July 21, at a meeting to consider extending off-site alcohol sales rules put in place early in the COVID-19 crisis. Read more

ENTERPRISE — When Tori White found out she had tested positive for COVID-19, she didn’t believe it at first. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — The framing is done and the walls are going up on the new $7.4 million, 22,000 square-foot Hearts for Health Integrated Health Care facility adjacent to Wallowa Memorial Hospital. Read more

ENTERPRISE — Despite signs of people flaunting the statewide mandate to wear facemasks in public and maintain social distancing, there has been no crackdown on violators, state and local officials report. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — Wallowa Memorial Hospital announced the first COVID-19-related death in the county, according to a press release. Read more

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LA GRANDE — The Cascade Collegiate Conference announced Friday, July 17, it is delaying the start of its fall sports season. Read more

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The Oregon Legislature’s chief budget writers have proposed to shield state aid to schools, but to cut almost $400 million in other spending and draw down reserves to offset reduced tax collections during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

Oregon lawmakers have cleared the way for some unemployed people to obtain one-time checks of $500 if they have been waiting for weeks to obtain unemployment benefits. Read more

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Face masks must be worn outdoors when social distancing is not possible and private gatherings must be limited to no more than 10 people, Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday. Read more

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ELGIN — The Friends of the Joseph Branch Board of Directors has watched the status of the COVID-19 virus pandemic closely and recently made the decision to not run the Eagle Cap Excursion Train this season. Read more

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Oregon faces an "exponential growth" in COVID-19 cases if current trends continue, with ever rising numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles Field Office in Enterprise is now accepting appointments for in-person visits that start Tuesday, July 21. Read more

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LA GRANDE — Eastern Oregon University plans to resume on-campus, in-person activities and instruction this fall, the school announced earlier this week. Read more

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A steep drop in lottery funds due to the COVID-19 crisis has killed the sale of $273 million in state bonds to pay for major projects, state officials said Wednesday. Read more

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WALLOWA — In response to the Wallowa City Council’s decision to not issue permits for an official Independence Day Parade, a grassroots effort led to a “nonparade,” Saturday, July 4, with a hearty turnout. Read more

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WALLOWA LAKE — With cars parked a mile each side of the entrance to the county boat ramp at Wallowa Lake on both sides of the highway and the beaches and parking areas crammed, there seemed to be little thought of social distancing Saturday, July 4, as Americans gathered for the annual Indep… Read more

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ENTERPRISE — Over Fourth of July weekend, Wallowa Memorial Hospital reported three more positive cases of COVID-19 in Wallowa Count.  On July 7, the 14th positive COVID-19 case for Wallowa County was announced.  Read more

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Drug decriminalization, a cigarette tax increase and limits on political campaign financing are on a historically short list of ballot measures that will go before voters in the Nov. 3 election. Read more

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BAKER CITY — The plaintiffs, including a Baker City church, who sued Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in early May, claiming she had exceeded her legal authority in restricting activities due to the pandemic, have voluntarily dismissed their complaint. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — Wallowa County may be getting up to $250,000 in federal CARES Act funds to help local businesses and recoup expenses. Read more

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JOSEPH — Signs in Joseph were vandalized recently to convey anti-tourist messages and heighten fear that tourists are bringing COVID-19 to the area, according to Joseph City Administrator Larry Braden. Read more

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One special session of the Oregon Legislature is history, but a second is coming. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — The Oregon Health Authority announced the ninth and 10th positive COVID-19 cases in Wallowa County on Tuesday, June 30. Read more

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Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday that starting Wednesday, Oregonians statewide will be required to wear masks or other face coverings in indoor public spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read more

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JOSEPH — The on-again-off-again fireworks over Wallowa Lake is officially on again, said Gary Bethscheider, of Joseph, who is spearheading the effort. Read more

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LA GRANDE — While wetter conditions were prevalent throughout the spring across much of the Oregon Department of Forestry-Northeast Oregon District, the weather is changing to a typical summer pattern of warmer and drier conditions. Read more

SALEM — The Oregon Legislature convened a special session on Wednesday, June 24, amid a worldwide pandemic that has killed over 475,000 people — nearly a quarter of them in the United States. Read more

ENTERPRISE — Wallowa County may have avoided the brunt of COVID-19 cases, but the hospital here stands ready to help neighboring counties, such as with the massive surge reported last week in La Grande. Read more

JOSEPH — The draw of tourism also can mean a draw of COVID-19 to areas where the economy is dependent on visits from outsiders, said Clay Josephy, an emergency-room physician who was the featured speaker during the weekly Josephy Center Brown Bag discussion Tuesday, June 16. Read more

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WALLOWA — There will be no Independence Day parade in Wallowa this year, after the Wallowa City Council met Tuesday, June 16, and voted to deny any permit requests connected with the event. Read more

LA GRANDE — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has outlined what the Fall 2020 sports season could look like. Read more

ENTERPRISE — A 2020-21 budget of $6.25 million was approved Monday, June 22, by the Enterprise City Council after a budget hearing at city hall. Read more

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JOSEPH — On, then off, then on again — it now looks like the annual Fourth of July fireworks show over Wallowa Lake has fizzled out, largely due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Read more

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SALEM — Oregon Sen. Bill Hansell will not be joining other Oregon lawmakers on Wednesday, June 24, for a special session of the Oregon Legislature. Read more

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WALLOWA COUNTY — Another new case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Sunday, June 21, in Wallowa County, according to a press release from the Oregon Health Authority. Read more

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Wallowa Memorial Hospital confirmed on Friday, June 19, that the Oregon Health Authority will be announcing two new positive COVID-19 cases in Wallowa County, bringing the county's case total to seven. Read more

SALEM — Contact tracers usually work with local government agencies to call people who may have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — A second round of grants is being awarded to businesses that have been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release. Read more

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ENTERPRISE — Concerns over the Union County surge of COVID-19 and the planned Fourth of July fireworks show on Wallowa Lake were heard by the Wallowa County Commission at its Wednesday, June 17, meeting at the courthouse. Read more

About 70,000 Oregonians newly eligible for unemployment benefits — the self-employed, independent contractors, gig and temporary workers — await state processing of their claims. Read more

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LA GRANDE — Union County commissioners voted Wednesday morning to recommend rolling back to Phase 1 guidelines. Read more

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Oregon reported a new record for COVID-19 infections on Thursday as health officials cautioned the phased "reopening" of the state depended on residents not returning to pre-pandemic patterns. Read more

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Wallowa County now has had four COVID-19 cases. On June 9 OHA and the Wallowa Memorial Hospital announced a positive COVID-19 result in a Wallowa County resident in their 40s. The individual is not hospitalized and is isolated while recovering. The OHA is conducting the investigation includi… Read more

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On Friday, June 5, the Oregon Health authority reported a second case of COVID-19 in Wallowa County. Read more

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State legislators heard a parade of woes ranging from ruined businesses to crippled conservation education programs to the likelihood of devastating wildfires, all during a fast-paced hearing on Thursday. Read more

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Oregon has to prepare for a possible second spike of COVID-19 in the fall, fight wildfires while not spreading the infection to crews, and do it with budgets slashed by the state’s dire finances, lawmakers were told Wednesday. Read more

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Wallowa County is going back to work and its businesses are welcoming customers again after Gov. Kate Brown allowed 31 of Oregon’s 36 counties to enter Phase 1 of post-COVID-19 reopening. Brown made the announcement Thursday, May 14, that Phase 1 would begin for the counties — including Wall… Read more

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UNION COUNTY — Union County has its fifth confirmed case of COVID-19. Read more

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The Enterprise Public Library, shuttered since the COVID-19 outbreak hit Oregon, will begin reopening in a modified fashion on May 18. Read more

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Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday that 28 of Oregon’s 36 counties — including Wallowa County — may partly reopen from COVID-19 restrictions as of Friday, May 15. Read more

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A group of Oregon churches and individuals, including as lead plaintiff the Elkhorn Baptist Church in Baker City, is suing Gov. Kate Brown claiming her executive orders imposing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic are unconstitutional. Read more

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A little box full of science and health – an Abbott Covid-19 rapid tester — arrived at Wallowa Memorial Hospital Wednesday, May 6. And a new $166,000 grant to support COVID-19 testing will also help Winding Waters Clinic ensure that patients get the diagnoses they need. Read more

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The commissioners of ten eastern Oregon counties released a joint statement on Thursday afternoon, asking that Gov. Brown allow the opening of all of their “rural and frontier” counties on May 15. Read more

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Phase 1 opening guidelines at a news conference this morning. She also announced that live sporting events, festivals, concerts, and large gatherings “should be canceled through September.” Read more

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Late Friday afternoon Wallowa County applied to open select businesses under Oregon’s Phase 1 guidelines as early as May 4th. Realistically that opening, if approved, won’t happen until May 15 according to Gov. Kate Brown. But an earlier meeting of commissioners today with Brown, her staff a… Read more

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Chief Joseph Days has been celebrated on the last full weekend of July for the past 74 years. If the CJD board of directors has their way, the 75th annual rodeo will go on as planned this year. Or as close to what’s been planned as possible. If possible. Read more

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Wallowa County has been hit hard by a coronavirus-slowed economy and closures. Read more

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On March 16th, I woke up and realized I would soon become a completely different parent than the one I was the day before. Read more

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City governments in Wallowa County must take unusual measures in these days of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to meet the legal requirements of access to the public and public meetings. Read more

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At a time when promised federal aid can be hard to get, a new partnership of Wallowa County organizations and generous individuals is riding to the rescue. The Wallowa County Business Fund (WCBF) will be taking applications for outright grants to struggling local businesses, beginning May 18. Read more

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PHILADELPHIA – A pilot training program using scent detection dogs to discriminate between samples from COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative patients is the focus of a new research initiative at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Read more

UMATILLA COUNTY — Umatilla County is quickly becoming the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in rural Oregon. Read more

PORTLAND-Oregon Health & Science University, in collaboration with the State of Oregon and the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, will conduct a statewide study to track, test and precisely map the COVID-19 virus in real time. Read more

On rounds in a 20-bed intensive care unit (ICU) one recent day, physician Joshua Denson assessed two patients with seizures, many with respiratory failure and others whose kidneys were on a dangerous downhill slide. Read more

I have fished for trout for many years. I have learned that there are some predictors that seem to be associated with success. There are certain months of the year when I am more successful, as well as selected times of day. I believe that selecting the right fly, coupled with a decent cast … Read more

Following up on last week’s piece, the aim of this final piece is to put COVID-19 into historical context, describe what lies ahead, and comment on readiness. Read more

Some Wallowa County businesses are not particularly feeling the pinch of stay-at-home orders over the coronavirus pandemic, particularly hardware and farm stores. It seems do-it-yourselfers are taking advantage of the forced stay-at-home time to do chores they might put off until later. Read more

Evidently, the federal government CARES. Struggling Wallowa County businesses that rely heavily on tourism are are seeing a glimmer of hope in the $2.2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) aid package. The was passed by Congress in March to help with th… Read more

A tiger in a New York zoo recently tested positive for COVID-19, and researchers at Washington State University want to find out what that means for people, their pets and livestock.  Read more

Wallowa County's first in-county case of COVID-19 was confirmed by Wallowa Memorial Hospital this morning. The patient is isolated at home while they recover, and does not require hospitalization. Read more

What’s being called the “Great Potato Drive” is coming to the rescue of the area food bank distribution hub — Community Connection in La Grande — that reported being low on staples, including potatoes. Read more

This week is a special Easter Week in which churches in Wallowa County — and around the world — are finding unique ways to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, and at the same time reach out to the needy in their communities. Read more

SALEM – Following the announcement today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) that it will close all recreational fisheries in the state of Washington, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that it will close recreational salmon and steelhead in the Columbi… Read more

New research by the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute suggests that cats (and ferrets) can harbor and transmit the COVID-19 disease-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus However, the same virus cannot reproduce well or infect us from dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks. Read more

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