ENTERPRISE — Cases of COVID-19 are up again in Wallowa County — this time, to the highest one-day total to date since the start of the pandemic.
And at least two businesses in the county have already been affected by the spike.
The Oregon Health Authority on Friday, July 30, reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 in the county, surpassing the previous one-day record of nine back in February. The county's total since the start of the pandemic in early 2020 is at 238.
Red Rooster Cafe, on Main Street in Enterprise, posted a note Friday afternoon saying the restaurant was going to be closed "until further notice" and that part of its staff had been exposed to COVID and was in quarantine.
Additionally, the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph canceled Friday night's opening reception for "Instance in Time," which was set to kick off an art display by Rick McEwan and Adele Buttolph. The gallery is still open, an email from the Josephy Center said.
Throughout the pandemic, Wallowa County has been one of the locations with a relatively low number of cases, due in part to its sparsely populated nature with roughly 7,000 people living in the county.
Even with the number of overall cases still below the state average — less than 3.5% of the county's population has tested positive, compared to more than 5% of the state — the number of recent cases has caused that total to swell. The county had 196 total cases at the start of July, and didn't have its 200th case reported until July 19.
Since that day, though, 38 more cases have been reported — a 19% increase in total cases in a week and a half.
Health officials have pointed to the Delta variant as part of the reason for a statewide increase — Oregon has reported more than 1,000 new cases in three of the last four days, including 1,076 on Friday. Earlier this week, officials said they believed the Delta variant — which they have said is much more transmissible — is responsible for about 80% of new cases.
All four northeast Oregon counties, in fact, are seeing a rise, with the biggest of the spikes being in Umatilla County. It has had more than 100 new cases a day in recent days, and Friday reported 82 cases. Both Baker and Union counties had 22 cases on Friday.
Jackson County had the highest total in Oregon Friday with 188 new cases.
In Wallowa County, 48.6% of the entire population has been vaccinated, and 58.3% of those 18 and older have received a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Those who statistically are more susceptible to hospitalization or death — the 60 and older population — have made up the majority of those getting vaccinated in the county. As of Friday, OHA data showed that age group in Wallowa County has accounted for 57.4% of the county's vaccine total, despite being just 41.4% of the population. In all, just over two-thirds of that age bracket — 67.5%, or 1,998 people out of 2,962 — have received a COVID-19 vaccine.