Union County Reports 99 Cases Linked To Church Testing Clinic

By OPB Staff (OPB)
June 15, 2020 7:45 p.m.

UPDATE (5:17 p.m. PT) — Oregon's recent surge of new coronavirus cases hit a new high Monday, driven by a big spike in cases from a rural community in eastern Oregon.

Health officials reported 184 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the state Monday, bringing the total number of known cases to 5,820. Monday’s case number marks the highest daily count since the onset of the pandemic, breaking the record-high set last Sunday.


More than half of the new cases are from Union County. Its 99 cases are by far the most any county has had in a single day. Union is in the northeastern corner of Oregon, and has a population of just 26,000. The county's total case number stands at 121, an increase of more than 400% in a single day.

According to county health officials, a number of cases have been associated with Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church in La Grande, which recently hosted a testing clinic. At least 365 tested through public health, with more cases still pending. In a media call Monday, officials said the uptick could be due to the increase in testing and community spread, and are not entirely from that church community.

“Many of the recent positive cases are touching various areas of our community and are not confined to one location,” said Carrie Brogoitti, Public Health Administrator for Center for Human Development in Union County in a statement.

Health officials also reported four more deaths Monday, bringing the state’s total deaths to 180. All four were in Clackamas County.

OHA detailed the latest known coronavirus deaths as:

  • A 78-year-old woman who tested positive on June 6 and died June 12 in her residence. She had underlying medical conditions.
  • An 85-year-old man who tested positive on June 5 and died June 14 in his residence. He had underlying medical conditions.
  • A 65-year-old woman who tested positive on June 5 and died June 12 in her residence. She had underlying medical conditions.
  • A 75-year-old woman who tested positive on June 4 and died June 11 in her residence. She had underlying medical conditions.

As of Monday, 125 people are hospitalized with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 19 who are on ventilators. Coronavirus has led to the hospitalization of 829 people since over the course of the pandemic.

Oregon COVID-19 Map

Jacob Fenton, The Accountability Project at the Investigative Reporting Workshop 


Clark County At More Than 600 Confirmed Cases

Health officials in Clark County announced Monday that 17 more residents have tested positive for COVID-19, one of whom is an employee at Pacific Crest Building Supply in Ridgefield. To date, 24 employees at the company have tested positive for COVID-19, 15 being Clark County residents.

The vast majority of the 41 new positive cases tallied in Clark County since last Thursday have not been tied to either Pacific Crest Building Supply or Firestone Pacific Foods.

In total, 647 people have tested positive in Clark County, and 28 people have died.

The most recent available data from the Washington Department of Health show 25,834 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 1,217 known deaths.

OSU expands testing study to Newport

Oregon State University is expanding its study of COVID-19 in Newport, the Statesman Journal reports.

University researchers and local public health officials will conduct two days of community sampling in Newport this weekend, officials announced Monday.

The expansion of the Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-Level Coronavirus Epidemics, or TRACE, comes after more than 120 cases were found at a Pacific Seafoods plant in Newport.

The study team will assist with contract tracing for any positive tests they find during the effort to canvass the community.

“The results from the TRACE team’s community sampling will give the community current prevalence data and inform a better picture of how COVID-19 moves through rural communities,” said Bob Cowen, director of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

OSU launched the program back in April to track the outbreak's prevalence in Corvallis, and has since expanded to other communities.

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