Eleven of the 17 largest active outbreaks are in Eastern Oregon’s Umatilla County.
PORTLAND, Ore. — There are 87 active COVID-19 workplace outbreaks in Oregon as of this week. That’s one less than the 88 active outbreaks reported last week by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).
The largest active outbreak remains at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton. The outbreak there was first identified in early July and the case count has continued to rise over the past month. There have been 232 coronavirus cases linked to the outbreak, with the most recent onset reported on Aug. 19. Over the last week, the prison has reported the deaths of two inmates who tested positive for COVID-19.
Health officials track outbreaks of five or more employees at workplaces where there are at least 30 workers. Health officials say an outbreak remains active if there has been a case within the past 28 days. The case count for each workplace includes everyone who is linked to the outbreak, whether they are workers or a close contact.
Umatilla County in Eastern Oregon has been hit hard by workplace outbreaks, and despite having a population of just 78,000, the county is home to 11 of the 17 largest active outbreaks, and 21 of the 87 total active outbreaks in the state.
The full workplace outbreak list was published in OHA’s weekly report, which details the state’s response to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The data is current as of 11 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23. The weekly report also lists 92 workplaces where COVID-19 outbreaks have been resolved.
Two of the state’s largest outbreaks, at Pacific Seafood in Newport and the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, are now considered resolved after not having a new case for at least 28 days.
The five largest active outbreaks are at correctional facilities and food processing facilities. In addition to the outbreak at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, 217 COVID-19 cases are connected to the Snake River Correctional Institution in Malheur County. Another 182 cases are linked to Lamb Weston in Hermiston and 58 cases have been connected to Lamb Weston East in Boardman. Shearer’s Foods in Hermiston has been tied to 68 cases.
“The presence of correctional facilities and food packing and agricultural worksites on this list highlights the challenges of controlling COVID-19 in settings where people must work or live in proximity,” OHA said in the report.
Eight COVID-19 deaths have been associated with workplace outbreaks in the state. OHA does not report employee deaths by specific workplace.