Wheeler County was one of only four counties in the United States to be totally free of COVID-19. But on Sunday, Oregon Health Authority reported the first case in Oregon’s least populated county.
A longtime holdout, many were hoping that the county would avoid the disease entirely as the world anxiously awaits a vaccine. But it was only a matter of time until the pandemic, which has infected 37.3 million and killed 1.07 million people around the world, made its way into Oregon’s smallest county.
While most people who contract the disease will recover, there is added concern for elderly people who more commonly have complications.
In Wheeler County, the average age per capita is 58.7 years, making it the oldest county in the state. The next oldest county is Curry County, which is five years younger. In comparison, Benton County has Oregon’s youngest median age per capita at 32.5 years.
While residents will no doubt worry about the disease spreading, so too should they be commended for working to limit the disease.
Businesses such as the Fossil Mercantile and Fossil Fuel and Espresso began to require face coverings before the state of Oregon issued a mandate to do so. Residents made face coverings and the Wheeler County Public Health Department offered free testing for all students and faculty at schools in Fossil, Mitchell and Spray.