Live updates: National Guard joins fight against COVID-19 in Pullman, Washington

By Staff (OPB)
Sept. 2, 2020 1 p.m. Updated: Sept. 2, 2020 10:09 p.m.

Adjusted for population size, Pullman, Washington, has one of the fastest-growing coronavirus outbreaks in the nation, according to a New York Times data dashboard.

Now a team from Washington state’s National Guard is headed there to set up a COVID-19 testing operation, according to Whitman County Director of Public Health Troy Henderson.


Local law enforcement is also getting involved in the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Pullman, which is home to Washington State University and located near the Idaho border.

Police are issuing tickets to people who gather in violation of laws intended to curb spread of the virus. The nuisance party ordinance prohibits anyone hosting or otherwise allowing a party or permitting certain activities at that party. Violating Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 proclamations or ignoring health department orders to wear a face mask, social distance and not gather in groups of more than 10 are violations of the ordinance, and people could be fined $250 for a first offense, and $350 for subsequent offenses.

Related: National Guard headed to Pullman to help slow coronavirus

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown extends state of emergency

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Tuesday announced the extension of her coronavirus-related state of emergency declaration for 60 days, now lasting until Nov. 3.


“When I last extended the COVID-19 state of emergency in June, I told Oregonians that we were at a crossroads: we could work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon, or we could watch infections and hospitalizations spike,” Brown said in a statement.

Brown said that the state has made progress in slowing the spread of the virus, but both the start of the school year and the upcoming Labor Day weekend mark critical moments in the ongoing pandemic.

“We can work together to stay safe and put Oregon on the path to return more students to classrooms. Or, we could see Labor Day celebrations unknowingly sow the seeds of COVID-19 outbreaks that could set us back for months. Until there is an effective vaccine for COVID-19, this disease can spread like wildfire if we let our guard down,” Brown said.

The emergency declaration allows Brown to continue enforcing executive orders related to public health and safety amid the pandemic.

Oregon reports 140 new coronavirus cases

The Oregon Health Authority reported 140 COVID-19 diagnoses Wednesday, the fewest new cases the state has seen any day since late June, as the virus continues a weekslong decline. Officials also reported three deaths, bringing the death toll in Oregon to 468.

The most recent deaths were:

  • A 71-year-old Polk County woman with underlying medical conditions.
  • A 73-year-old Jackson County man. Officials are still identifying whether he might have had underlying medical conditions.
  • An 84-year-old Washington County man with underlying medical conditions.

Since the start of the pandemic, 27,075 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in the state.