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A COVID-19 particle is pictured in this image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC/CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

Baker County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has risen during the first two weeks of June, but infections remain well below the average for the previous six months.

From June 1-13, the Baker County Health Department reported 23 cases.

For the final 13 days of the May, the county’s total was 10 new cases.

June’s daily average of 1.77 cases per day is only slightly above May’s 1.65. April’s daily average was 5.4 cases.

Monthly averages dating back to last fall:

• November 2020: 4.7 per day

• December 2020: 6.3 per day (the highest of any month during the pandemic)

• January 2021: 3.4 per day

• February 2021: 2.5 per day

• March 2021: 3.1 per day

Baker County hasn’t recorded more than four cases in any day since May 12, when there were five new cases.

Health Department director Nancy Staten said contact tracing during June has shown that some cases, as in the past, are linked to private social gatherings.

But others are “sporadic,” Staten said — meaning they don’t have a definitive source of infection.

The county’s case totals, and its rate of positive tests, are low enough that it should remain at the lowest risk level, which means restrictions on businesses would stay the same.

The county risk level system will end when Oregon reaches a 70% vaccination rate for adults, a threshold the state is on pace to reach by the end of June.

Baker County’s adult vaccination rate, at 43.4%, is well below the state average. The county’s highest rates are for ages 70 to 74 (65.2% fully vaccinated, compared with 78.1% statewide) and 80 and older (64.5%, 71.4% statewide).

The county didn’t record any COVID-19 infections during May for either of those age ranges.

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