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Timeline of COVID-19 in Walla Walla

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This is a timeline of COVID-19-related news specific to our city and county, beginning on the date a person with the illness was brought to Walla Walla County for treatment. If you have an item we should add to this timeline to make it more complete, please use the "Contact us" form to let us know.

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March 2

Walla Walla County Department of Community Health reports an Oregon resident is hospitalized in Walla Walla with COVID-19.

March 5

The City provides guidelines to help people avoid contracting COVID-19, and links to websites and phone numbers people can use to get more information.

March 9

The County health department announces tests of seven people suspected of having COVID-19 came back negative. There are still no cases of the illness among residents of Walla Walla County.

Whitman College encourages students to cancel spring break travel and stay in Walla Walla for the break. 

March 10

Gov. Jay Inslee issues new rules to protect older adults living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

March 11

Inslee announces a mandatory ban on all gatherings over 250 people in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. Walla Walla County health officials do not recommend canceling community gatherings at this time.

March 12

Walla Walla Parks & Recreation cancels the March 15 in-person St. Paddy’s Day Dash and replaces it with a virtual race.

Walla Walla Public Schools suspends all school-sponsored out-of-district student events effective immediately.

Walla Walla Community College cancels all upcoming school-sponsored events.

Whitman College announces it will move to an online learning model at the end of spring break.

March 13

The Walla Walla County Board of Commissioners sign a declaration of emergency related to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.

Inslee orders all schools in the state closed for six weeks due to coronavirus.

Walla Walla Public Schools announces its last school day will be March 16, and campuses will close to the public from March 17 until April 24.

WWCC announces its last in-person school day will be March 16, and instruction for the rest of the quarter, and spring quarter, will be conducted online.

The Walla Walla Public Library closes to the public until at least April 1, and reduces services.

Parks & Recreation cancels all recreational programs through April 24.

March 15

Inslee announces restaurants, bars, and entertainment/recreational facilities will close statewide, and gatherings over 50 participants are prohibited.

March 16

At a special meeting, the Walla Walla City Council approves a resolution declaring an emergency due to the spread of the novel coronavirus and outbreak of COVID-19. City buildings will close to the public starting the next day.

March 17

The Library suspends its curbside delivery service until at least April 8, and details the online services it has available.

Parks & Recreation cancels all facility reservations through April 24.

Walla Walla Public Schools unveils a distance learning program for all students preschool through grade 12, to begin March 23.

March 18

The Communications Division announces the creation of a COVID-19 page on the City website, with updated information, news, and resources from a variety of official sources.

County Emergency Management asks the public for donations of personal protective equipment for local first responders and health care workers.

Whitman College announces it will not have an in-person commencement ceremony this spring.

March 19

After Inslee announces measures for businesses, workers, renters, and other residents who may struggle financially to pay utility bills while dealing with loss of income during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Finance Department announces the City will not shut off water service for nonpayment during the emergency.

The Blue Mountain Community Foundation announces its new COVID-19 Response Fund has raised $120,000 in two days. The funds will be used to provide assistance for those affected by COVID-19.

March 20

The Human Resources Department issues a call for people who are willing to volunteer to help the community.

March 21

The County health department announces the first case of COVID-19 in a resident.

The Library announces members of the public can get a free library card online.

March 22

President Donald Trump issues a disaster declaration for Washington and orders federal assistance for the state in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Trump also activates the National Guard to help respond to the coronavirus outbreak in Washington and two other states.

March 23

Inslee issues a "Stay home. Stay healthy." order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and well-being of everyone in the state. In response, the City announces we will continue provide essential services — including utilities, Police, WESCOM, and Fire/Ambulance — while the order is in effect. City parks will remain open for exercise, but playground equipment is considered off-limits.

March 24

County health officials confirm a second local resident has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Public Works Department announces reductions in hours, days, and services at the Sudbury Landfill in order to help preserve the health of employees.

March 25

The Walla Walla Police Department announces changes to some services and an extension of the closure of its lobby. The WWPD also posts an explanation of what residents can expect from law enforcement during the COVID-19 emergency.

Parks & Recreation closes some areas in City parks to the public.

In response to concerns by Sanitation crew members about possible contamination, the City asks the public to bag garbage before putting it in the garbage can, as mandated by Walla Walla’s municipal code.

In response to concerns by Public Works employees over residents flushing inappropriate products in their toilets due to the scarcity of toilet paper, the City asks the public to only flush “the three P’s.”

Providence St. Mary Medical Center distributes instructions for sewing masks for use by local health care personnel.

The Walla Walla City Council waives late fees for City utility customers who are unable to pay their bills because of the COVID-19 emergency.

March 26

After the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife closes recreational fishing in the state, Parks & Recreation adds the Jefferson Park pond to the list of park areas closed to the public.

The Library posts the first video in its “Stories from Home” series, which features Young People’s Librarian Liz George reading books for kids. (Visit the Library’s Facebook page for more videos, which will be released every few days.)

March 27

The County health department confirms the third, fourth, and fifth positive cases of COVID-19 among residents.

The Walla Walla Regional Airport closes temporarily for deep-cleaning after a TSA employee tests positive for COVID-19.

To comply with the "Stay home" order, the three local homeless shelters have begun operating 24/7 after receiving funding from the state Department of Commerce.

Inslee releases information about what Washington residents will receive as a result of the federal stimulus package.

Public Works announces the Sudbury Landfill will only be open to self-haulers and members of the public on Wednesdays in order to minimize contact between customers and staff.

March 30

The City announces the City Council at its April 8 meeting will consider enactment of an ordinance imposing a moratorium on commercial and residential tenant evictions.

The state Department of Licensing announces it will temporarily close driver licensing offices as of March 31.

The state releases a form people can use to notify officials of non-essential businesses that are open in violation of the “Stay home. Stay healthy.” order.

March 31

Providence St. Mary Medical Center begins offering drive-through screening and testing at Urgent Care for people with symptoms of COVID-19.

The cities of Walla Walla, College Place, and Waitsburg, along with Walla Walla County, distribute an open letter to keep the public informed about what we’re doing to help our residents during the COVID-19 crisis.

The City posts the first “Working for Walla Walla” feature. These posts will be periodic glimpses into what employees are working on during the “Stay home” order. Look for them by searching for the hashtag #WorkingForWW on Facebook.

The County health department announces the sixth and seventh positive COVID-19 tests among residents.

April 1

The County announces County Treasurer Gordon Heimbigner is working on a property tax payment plan for residents who are financially impacted by COVID-19.

The Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office announces members of the National Guard will be deployed to the county to assist with food distribution.

The County health department announces the eighth positive COVID-19 test among residents.

Providence St. Mary Medical Center holds a drop-off event for volunteers who are sewing masks.

April 2

Inslee extends the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" emergency order through May 4, 2020. 

Officials say the Southgate Medical Park (formerly the Walla Walla General Hospital) is being prepared to house COVID-19 patients and people suspected of having the disease.

April 3

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings to slow spread of COVID-19 in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

April 4

The County health department announces the ninth positive COVID-19 test among residents.

April 5

The County health department announces the 10th, 11th, and 12th positive COVID-19 tests among residents. The latest three cases, along with one from the previous week, are related.

The County Treasurer’s Office announces two new payment options for those affected by the economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 6

The County health department announces the 13th positive COVID-19 test among residents, related to the previous three.

Inslee announces he's extending the state's school closure through the end of the school year.

Washington reports its first positive case of COVID-19 in an inmate currently housed in a Department of Corrections facility.

The state Department of Licensing announces drivers with licenses that are set to expire between March 1 and June 30 have another 90 days to renew them.

April 7

The County health department announces the 14th, 15th, and 16th positive COVID-19 tests among residents.

The National Guard delivers 60 beds to Providence St. Mary Medical Center from the Department of Health stockpile to be used for COVID-19 patients, if needed.

Inslee,  nonprofits, and philanthropies launch a coordinated, statewide food relief fund.

The Walla Walla Police Department announces that due to the temporary suspension of fingerprinting services, they are unable to process new concealed pistol licenses during the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

April 8

The City Council votes to not approve an ordinance that would have imposed a moratorium on commercial and tenant evictions in the City during the current state of emergency. The state's moratorium on evictions is already in place.

Due to the demand for services at the Sudbury Landfill, Public Works officials reopen the facility to the public six days a week.

Inslee announces the Department of Defense field hospital currently stationed at the Century Link Field Event Center will be returned to FEMA so it can be deployed to another state facing a more significant need.

April 9

The County health department announces the 17th and 18th positive COVID-19 tests among residents.

The Port of Walla Walla approves a rent-relief policy to help some of its associated businesses get financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Providence St. Mary Medical Center holds its second drop-off event for volunteers who are sewing masks.

April 10

The County health department announces the 19th and 20th positive COVID-19 tests among residents, noting the cases have more than doubled over the past week.

April 11

The County health department announces the 21st positive COVID-19 tests among residents.

The Washington Supreme Court orders Inslee to take "all necessary steps" to protect inmates from the coronavirus.

April 12

Officials say crime in Walla Walla has decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

County Emergency Management receives two pallets of personal protective equipment from the state Department of Health. 

April 13

Inslee, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announce an agreement on a shared vision for reopening their states' economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future.

State officials file a report on how they are working to keep inmates in Washington’s prisons safe from outbreaks of the new coronavirus.

County health officials confirm six positive cases of COVID-19 in Walla Walla County are linked to employment at Tyson Fresh Meats in Wallula. In addition, the Benton-Franklin Health District reports 28 lab-confirmed cases in Benton and Franklin Counties, with two additional probable cases.

The County health department announces the 22nd and 23rd positive COVID-19 tests among residents

April 14

The County health department announces the 24th positive COVID-19 test among residents, with seven recovered.

The Federal Aviation Administration announces the Walla Walla Regional Airport will receive more than $18 million in federal coronavirus relief funds.

Inslee issues new proclamations on criminal statutes and wage garnishments.

April 15

Organizers of the Downtown Farmers Market postpone its opening to June 6.

The County health department announces the 25th and 26th positive COVID-19 tests among residents.

April 16

Walla Walla County Superior Court shifts most hearings to May.

April 17

The County health department announces the 27th positive COVID-19 test among residents, with 15 recovered.

The state Department of Social and Health Services announces it will provide disaster cash assistance for some residents.

April 19

The County health department announces the 28th-33rd positive COVID-19 tests among residents.

April 20

The County health department announces the 34th and 35th positive COVID-19 tests among residents.

The County health department releases a video featuring officials from numerous local agencies, providing information for area residents and thanking them for staying home and taking other precautions.

April 21

Inslee announces Washington’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

The County health department announces the 36th and 37th positive COVID-19 tests among residents.

April 22

The County health department announces seven new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 44, with 15 recovered.

April 23

The County health department announces seven new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the current total to 51, with 15 recovered.

Tyson Fresh Meats shuts down so workers can be tested for COVID-19.

April 24

Testing for COVID-19 begins for the workers at Tyson Fresh Meats.

Inslee allows some construction projects to reopen, with safety rules.

The County health department announces one new positive COVID-19 test among residents, bringing the total to 52, with 15 recovered.

April 25

The U-B reports four people connected to local long-term care facilities have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The County health department announces five new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 57, with 15 recovered. (Positive cases later updated to 55 due to duplicates appearing and then being removed from the State tracking database.)

April 26

The U-B reports local agencies and Providence St. Mary are providing funds to purchase a machine that can process up to 380 tests for COVID-19 in a day.

No new positive COVID-19 tests today; the total remains at 57, with 15 recovered. (Positive cases later updated to 55 due to duplicates appearing and then being removed from the State tracking database.)

April 27

Inslee announces Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak are joining Washington, Oregon, and California in the Western States Pact.

Inslee announces a partial re-opening of some outdoor recreation activities.

Inslee announces nearly $300 million will be awarded from the state’s federal stimulus funding to local governments (potentially including Walla Walla) that did not receive direct distributions under the CARES Act.

The County health department announces four new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 61, with 15 recovered. (Positive cases later updated to 57 due to duplicates appearing and then being removed from the State tracking database.)

April 28

The County health department announces four new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 61, with 15 recovered. (Positive cases later updated to 62 due to duplicates appearing and then being removed from the State tracking database.)

April 29

County health officials announce they are still waiting for test results from Tyson Fresh Foods.

Inslee announces the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy' order will not be lifted on May 4. He says he will have more details on May 1.

Inslee issues guidance to clarify limits on elective surgeries.

The County health department announces seven new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 68, with 25 recovered.

April 30

The County health department's noon update announces four new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 72, with 32 recovered.

The County health department's evening update announces five new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 77, with 34 recovered.

County Emergency Management provides the initial test results from Tyson Fresh Foods. Out of 400 tests, 56 are positive, including four County residents.

May 1

The County health department's noon update announces 13 new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 85, with 34 recovered.

The County health department's evening update announces one new positive COVID-19 test among residents, bringing the total to 86, with 34 recovered.

County Emergency Management provides the second test results from Tyson Fresh Foods. Out of 600 tests, 116 are positive, including nine County residents.

Inslee extends the "Stay Home. Stay Healthy." order through May 31.

Providence St. Mary announces the purchase of a machine that can process tests for COVID-19 in 45 minutes. The funds came from local donors and public entities.

May 2

The County health department's daily update announces two new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 88, with 34 recovered. 

County Emergency Management provides the third test results from Tyson Fresh Foods. Out of 1,236 tests, 144 are positive, including 15 County residents.

May 4

The City posts the first in a series of videos to provide Valley residents with the latest information about what's happening locally with the COVID-19 situation.

The Library begins home delivery service of books.

Inslee signs an order for phased re-opening of the state's economy.

The County health department's noon update announces six new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 94, with 34 recovered. 

The County health department's evening update announces two of the previously reported positive COVID-19 tests were actually in another county, bringing the total in Walla Walla County to 92, with 34 recovered.

May 5

The County health department announces the first COVID-19-related death of a Walla Walla County resident.

The County health department announces two new positive COVID-19 tests among residents, bringing the total to 94, with 40 recovered.

The state Department of Corrections announces the first positive COVID-19 test among inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary.'

The Tyson Fresh Meats plant reopens.

May 6

The County health department announces one new recovery, bringing the total to 41. There are still 94 positive tests. There are no changes on the evening update

May 7

The County health department announces one new positive test for COVID-19, bringing the total to 95; and 14 new recoveries, for a total of 54.

May 8 

Inslee releases additional Safe Start Phase 1 guidance.

The County health department announces two new positive tests for COVID-19, bringing the total to 97,  with 54 recoveries.

Neighboring Columbia County is one of five counties to receive approval to move into Phase 2 of Inslee’s Safe Start plan early.

Walla Walla County Commissioners decide to lay off four of the full-time staff at the County Fairgrounds because of revenue losses due to COVID-19 restrictions.

May 9

About 150 people protest in downtown Walla Walla in reaction to Inslee and his COVID-19-related partial shutdown of the state’s economy.

May 10

The Union-Bulletin announces it has canceled its annual Fourth of July in the Park event for 2020.

May 11

Inslee issues guidance for partially resuming the dine-in restaurant and tavern industry in Phase 2.

The County health department announces seven new positive tests for COVID-19, bringing the total to 104, with 63 recoveries.

May 12

Inslee announces a contact tracing initiative that specifies how contact tracing is done and trains people to perform the tracing. 

The County health department announces two new positive tests for COVID-19, bringing the total to 106, with 67 recoveries.

May 13

Inslee issues a directive that places a freeze on State hiring not related to public safety or other non-discretionary activities, signing non-essential personal services contracts, and discretionary purchasing of equipment.

The County health department announces one new positive test for COVID-19, bringing the total to 107, with 68 recoveries. The positive count was later changed back to 106 as one person who tested positive was found to live in another county.

May 14

Inslee issues additional guidance for outdoor recreation in Phase 1 and Phase 2. 

The County health department announces no new positive tests for COVID-19, so the total remains at 106 for two days running with 64 recoveries, and notes the totals might continue to be adjusted as people who test positive in Walla Walla County are found to live in other counties.

May 15

Inslee issues a statement that says customers now may voluntarily choose to leave their contact information at businesses they visit for the purposes of potential contact tracing. On May 11 he had said the recording of customers' contact information would be mandatory.

The County health department announces no new positive tests for COVID-19, so the total remains at 106 for three days running, with 83 recoveries.

Walla Walla County Commissioners decide to request an early entry to Phase 2 for the county under the state's Safe Start plan.

May 18

Inslee announces the restart of all medical services in Washington.

Providence St. Mary announces all patients and visitors must now wear masks.

The County health department announces no new positive tests for COVID-19, so the total remains at 106 for four days running, with 83 recoveries

May 19

Inslee announces expanded county variance criteria and Working WA Small Business Grants.

The County health department announces no new positive tests for COVID-19, so the total remains at 106 for five days running, with 101 recoveries.

May 20

The County health department announces no new positive tests for COVID-19, so the total remains at 106 for six days running, with 101 recoveries.

May 21

The County health department announces no new positive tests for COVID-19, so the total remains at 106 for seven days running, with 101 recoveries.

The County submits a variance request application to the state Department of Health. If it's approved, Walla Walla County will be authorized to enter Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan.

May 22

The County health department announces no new positive cases for COVID-19, so the total remains at 106 for eight days running, with 101 recoveries.

The U-B reports state Secretary of Health John Wiesman has declined to consider Walla Walla County's variance application as he says the county is not yet eligible to move to Phase 2.


This information is presented by a partnership between the City of Walla Walla and the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health.