Tests

Grant County Health Department staff prepare COVID-19 test kits in May during the department’s curbside testing day. The department confirmed a third case of COVID-19 in the county Aug. 4.

The Grant County Health Department has confirmed a third resident has tested positive for COVID-19 in Grant County.

The health department has initiated contact tracing, according to a press release. The individual, who resides within the 97865 zip code, is working with health care providers to identify close contacts.

Grant County Health Department Administrator Kimberly Lindsay also confirmed that the second case was a positive case, despite recent rumors that the result may have been a false positive.

“While a third positive is unfortunate, in many ways it is not surprising given the increases in positive cases around Grant County and throughout Oregon and the United States,” the press release states.

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

The Oregon Health Authority said the percentage of tests coming back positive was 6.1% for the week of July 26 to Aug. 1. That is the highest percentage since mid-March.

State health officials had expressed some guarded optimism when the positive test rate fell to 4.8% in the previous report, breaking a streak of eight weeks of rising percentages of positive tests. The positive rate had reached 5.8% during the two weeks following the July 4 holiday.

Also on Monday, OHA announced 272 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 19,366. There were two more deaths, bringing the state total to 328.

During the initial outbreak, the positive rate was 9% and 7% respectively for the first two weeks of March. Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency on March 8, which began a shutdown of many offices, retail stores and restaurants.

The positive test rate fell to a low of 1.6% in mid-May, just before the phased “reopening” of businesses in most of the state. The rate rose for eight straight weeks before the dip in the previous report.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported Monday that, since the beginning of the year, there have been more than 4.1 million COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 155,379 deaths. Worldwide, the center reported just under 18.2 million positive cases and 691,352 deaths.

The Oregon Capital Bureau contributed to this report.

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Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at steven@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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