Malheur in Extreme Risk: After the ‘freeze,’ Oregon will introduce new framework for counties

Starting December 3rd, Malheur County will follow new extreme risk safety measures.

After the statewide “two-week freeze” ends on Dec. 2, Oregon will introduce a new framework of safety measures dependent on each county’s risk. Governor Kate Brown appeared at a news conference today with OHA and Oregon Health & Sciences University officials to discuss the new measures.

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations at an all-time high for the pandemic, Governor Brown also urged Oregonians to keep their Thanksgiving gatherings small and use precautions to protect themselves and loved ones from the spread of COVID-19.

The new framework has four risk levels based on counties’ current COVID-19 spread, to take effect after the “freeze” ends next week. At each risk level — Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk — health and safety measures and guidance for businesses and individuals will apply.

The framework is intended to establish sustainable protection measures for Oregonians in counties with rapid spread of COVID-19, while balancing the economic needs of families and businesses in the absence of a federal aid package.

At least 21 counties will likely initially fall in the “extreme risk” category (including Malheur County). Click here for a list of counties in each risk level using data available as of Nov. 23. On Monday, Nov. 30, OHA will re-examine county data to determine which counties qualify for each risk level on Dec. 3, following the end of the “freeze.”

Oregon counties that reduce their COVID-19 risk levels in coming weeks and months will be able to incrementally move to lower levels.

It’s important to note that there is no zero risk category. Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, health and safety precautions will remain in place so that schools, businesses and communities can reopen, and stay open.

At every risk level, to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, Oregonians must continue to wear face coverings, watch their physical distance, wash hands, stay home when sick, and keep social get-togethers and gatherings small.

Learn more:


Malheur County COVID-19 update: 41 deaths and 2,380 cases

The Malheur County Health Department (MCHD) is saddened to announce three new deaths, bringing the total to 41 Malheur County residents who have lost their lives with COVID-19. Our hearts go out to the family and friends who have lost a loved one.

Two deaths were in females in their 90s and one death was in a male in his 70s. Case investigators are diligently working on every case as they have dedicated their efforts to investigating 2,380 cases over the last eight months.

MCHD urges everyone to take precautions seriously to protect the spread of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable who are more likely to die. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States are rising, including Idaho and Oregon communities near us. Idaho announced 96,503 cases today and Oregon announced 68,503 cases today. The CDC reports the Idaho rate of cases at a rate of 78.22 cases per 100,000 people and the Oregon rate at 29.87 cases per 100,000 people. Everyone in Malheur County needs to be especially cautious due to the increasing risks around us.

Especially during the holidays, if you choose to have small gatherings of up to six people between two households, please take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart, get tested, and wash your hands often. The more steps you take, the more you and the ones you love are protected against COVID-19.

Do you need health insurance?

Oregon Health Authority : Contact Us : Oregon Health Plan : State of Oregon

Many Oregonians who are uninsured may qualify for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or for help paying for coverage through the Marketplace. Oregon’s Marketplace open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 and is the only time of year many people can buy private health insurance.

In 2020, more than seven in 10 Oregonians who chose plans through HealthCare.gov got financial help for monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Due to job losses during the pandemic, we estimate thousands of Oregonians may be newly eligible for help paying for health insurance. Want help? Experts are available to offer free assistance remotely and in person by appointment following COVID-19 safety protocols. Find local help on OregonHealthCare.gov.

Remember, you must apply and enroll by Dec. 15 to get coverage for 2021 through the Marketplace. You can apply for the Oregon Health Plan at OHP.Oregon.gov at any time. To find out what coverage and savings are available to you, visit OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop.

11/18 OHA Weekly Report Update

Malheur County COVID-19 outbreaks reported in latest Weekly Report by Oregon Health Authority.

  • Active outbreaks in care facilities, senior living communities and congregate living settings with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19 related deaths
    • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 5 cases, 0 death (last week 4 cases)
  • Resolved outbreaks in care facilities with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19 related death.
    • Brookdale Assisted Living Ontario: 37 cases, 5 deaths
    • Dorian Place Assisted Living: 23 cases, 3 deaths
    • Pioneer Place: 39 cases, 2 deaths
    • Riverside Manor: 3 cases, 1 death
    • Nyssa Gardens: 9 cases, 0 deaths
    • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 6 cases, 1 death
  • Active workplace outbreaks with five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases
    • Snake River Correctional Institution: 542 cases (last week 532 cases)
    • Walmart 7 cases (last week 7 cases)
  • Schools with recent COVID-19 Cases
    • Ontario High School: 0 students, 1 staff/volunteer
    • Annex Charter School: 0 students, 1 staff/volunteer
    • Adrian High School: 1 student, 0 staff/volunteer
    • Vale Elementary School: 2 students, 3 staff/volunteer
    • Jordan Valley High School: 1 student, 0 staff/volunteer
  • Schools with recently resolved COVID-19 Cases
    • Nyssa High School: 1 student, 4 staff/volunteers
    • Nyssa Middle School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers
    • Nyssa Elementary School: 1 student, 3 staff/volunteers
    • Four Rivers Community School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers

Malheur County COVID-19 Cases by Zipcode

  • 97913 (Nyssa): 376 cases, rate of 6803.0 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Nyssa: 356 cases, rate of 6441.1
  • 97914 (Ontario): 1564 cases, rate of 8143.7 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Ontario: 1501 cases, rate of 7815.7
  • 97918 (Vale): 190 cases, rate of 4187.8 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Vale: 177 cases, rate of 3901.3
  • All other Malheur County Zip Codes: 55 cases
    • Zip code data pulled the previous Sunday.
    • Total cases 11/8/20 = 2185
    • Total cases in Nyssa, Ontario, Vale = 2130

If you have questions or comments on outbreaks, reporting, or cases, please call the Malheur County Health Department and ask to speak with a COVID-19 Case Investigator at 541-889-7279.

December 1 COVID-19 Test Site in Ontario

The Malheur County COVID-19 Taskforce, in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, and local community-based organizations, is proud to continue with our series of free drive-through COVID-19 testing events.

Free COVID-19 testing is available at the Malheur County Fairgrounds (795 NW 9th St, Ontario) on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Register first:  https://doineedacovid19test.com/

PRINT AND BRING YOUR VOUCHER WITH YOU ON TEST DAY. Staff will be available to assist anyone without a printed voucher. But those with the ability to register online and print their voucher first should do so to improve the wait time and complete most of the paperwork ahead of time.

This is the 15th drive-up testing site organized by the Taskforce. Each event is improved by what we’ve learned. For December’s event, we have extended hours from noon to 6 p.m. Community Based Organizations are encouraged to volunteer. Call Alliana Ramirez at 208-296-0621 to help!

Share the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/365086311462587/

More on Two-Week Statewide Freeze

From November 18 to December 2, Oregon will be in a statewide Two-Week Freeze to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Oregon. These risk reduction measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that all Oregonians can continue to have access to quality care.

Statewide Two-Week Freeze to Stop Rapid Spread of COVID-19

New measures take effect Wednesday, Nov. 18, in all Oregon counties 

Governor Kate Brown today announced a statewide Two-Week Freeze, implementing new measures to limit gatherings and stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Oregon. The Two-Week Freeze measures will be in effect from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2, statewide. These risk reduction measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that all Oregonians can continue to have access to quality care.

“Since I announced a Two-Week Pause one week ago, we are seeing an alarming spike in both cases and hospitalizations,” said Governor Brown. “The virus is spreading in the community and, every day, it is infecting more and more Oregonians. This situation is dangerous and our hospitals have been sounding the alarms. If we want to give Oregon a fighting chance, we must take further measures to flatten the curve and save lives. I know this is hard, and we are weary. But, we are trying to stop this ferocious virus from quickly spreading far and wide. And in Oregon, we actually can do this.

“Given the data and modeling we are seeing, my public health experts tell me that some counties will need longer to flatten the curve. So I want to be very clear that there are some COVID-19 hotspot counties that will likely need to stay in the Freeze for much longer than two weeks. Multnomah County, for example, will be in this Freeze for at least four weeks. Our actions right now, no matter where in the state you live, are critical.”

The Two-Week Freeze measures include:

  • Limiting social get-togethers (indoors and outdoors) to no more than six people, total, from no more than two households.
  • Limiting faith-based organizations to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors.
  • Limiting eating and drinking establishments to take-out and delivery only.
  • Closing gyms and fitness organizations.
  • Closing indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts.
  • Closing zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools.
  • Limiting grocery stores and pharmacies to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pickup.
  • Limiting retail stores and retail malls (indoor and outdoor) to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pickup.
  • Closing venues (that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events).
  • Requiring all businesses to mandate work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and closing offices to the public.
  • Prohibiting indoor visiting in long-term care facilities (outdoor visitation permitted for supporting quality of life).

The Two-Week Freeze does not apply to or change current health and safety protocols for personal services (such as barber shops, hair salons, and non-medical massage therapy), congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, K-12 schools, K-12 sports currently allowed, current Division 1 and professional athletics exemptions, and higher education — all of which can continue operating under previous guidance issued by the Oregon Health Authority.

For all other permitted activities listed above, the Oregon Health Authority will be issuing sector-specific guidance within the next week. Sectors without specific prohibitions or guidance must operate under this general employer guidance.

Governor Brown’s full remarks are available here. Press release here.

A link to Governor Brown’s press conference is available here.

11/12 OHA Weekly Report Update

Malheur County COVID-19 outbreaks reported in latest Weekly Report by Oregon Health Authority.

  • Active outbreaks in care facilities, senior living communities and congregate living settings with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19 related deaths
    • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 4 cases, 0 death
  • Resolved outbreaks in care facilities with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19 related death.
    • Brookdale Assisted Living Ontario: 37 cases, 5 deaths
    • Dorian Place Assisted Living: 23 cases, 3 deaths
    • Pioneer Place: 39 cases, 2 deaths
    • Riverside Manor: 3 cases, 1 death
    • Nyssa Gardens: 9 cases, 0 deaths
    • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 6 cases, 1 death
  • Active workplace outbreaks with five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases
    • Snake River Correctional Institution: 532 cases (last week 529 cases)
    • Walmart 7 cases (last week 0 cases)
  • Schools with recent COVID-19 Cases
    • Vale Elementary School: 2 students, 3 staff/volunteer
  • Schools with recently resolved COVID-19 Cases
    • Nyssa High School: 1 student, 4 staff/volunteers
    • Nyssa Middle School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers
    • Nyssa Elementary School: 1 student, 3 staff/volunteers
    • Four Rivers Community School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers

Malheur County COVID-19 Cases by Zipcode

  • 97913 (Nyssa): 356 cases, rate of 6441.1 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Nyssa: 337 cases, rate of 6097.3
  • 97914 (Ontario): 1501 cases, rate of 7815.7 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Ontario: 1447 cases, rate of 7534.5
  • 97918 (Vale): 177 cases, rate of 3901.3 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Vale: 160 cases, rate of 3526.6
  • All other Malheur County Zip Codes: 51 cases
    • Zip code data pulled the previous Sunday.
    • Total cases 11/8/20 = 2085
    • Total cases in Nyssa, Ontario, Vale = 2034

If you have questions or comments on outbreaks, reporting, or cases, please call the Malheur County Health Department and ask to speak with a COVID-19 Case Investigator at 541-889-7279.

Free COVID-19 Testing for All: Tuesday, Nov 17

We need more COVID-19 testing to improve the test positivity rate and active infections. By getting tested, you help us 1) Safely reopen schools for kids, 2) Keep businesses open, and 3) Save lives.

Get tested! Free, easy, no-pain COVID-19 testing is available at the Malheur County Fairgrounds (795 NW 9th St, Ontario, OR 97914) on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No symptoms required. No insurance needed. No residency requirements.

Register HERE.

Please share the Facebook event also.

Happy Veterans Day!

Saint John Bosco Catholic Church – Veterans Day 2017 – Thank-you to all of  our Veterans.

Veterans, we are not only thankful to you, but also motivated by you. You have shown us how to be brave and honest. We can learn to sacrifice for our community and country during difficult times through your example. Thank you, Veterans!

Many Veterans are at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease. Please wear your mask, keep your distance, avoid large gatherings, and get tested to protect our Veterans and those who are most vulnerable. We should care for them as they care for us.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – JFK