Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic provides an important reminder that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy is also one of the simplest — handwashing with soap and water. Keeping hands clean can prevent 1 in 3 diarrheal illnesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.

Student washing her hands at an outdoor wash basin.

Each year on October 15, Global Handwashing Day highlights the importance of handwashing with soap and water at home, in the community, and around the world.

Global Handwashing Day serves as a yearly reminder that handwashing with soap and water is one of the best steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The observance was established by the Global Handwashing Partnership in 2008. This year’s theme, “Hand Hygiene for All,” seeks to raise awareness of making soap and water available globally, especially in public places, schools, and health care facilities. It also calls for institutions and individuals to improve hand hygiene efforts in the COVID-19 response that can outlast the pandemic and ensure continued access to clean water and soap.

Many germs that can make people sick are spread when we don’t wash our hands with soap and clean, running water. That is why handwashing is so important, especially at key times such as after using the bathroom, when preparing food, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

Do I really need to wash my hands for 20 seconds?

Scientific studies show that you need to scrub for 20 seconds to remove harmful germs and chemicals from your hands. If you wash for a shorter time, you will not remove as many germs. Make sure to scrub all areas of your hands, including your palms, backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.

10/14 OHA Weekly Report Update

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

  • Pioneer Place: 40 cases
  • Riverside Manor: 3 cases
  • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 6 cases
  • Nyssa Gardens: 9 cases
  • Dorian Place Assisted Living: 23 cases
  • Brookdale Assisted Living: 37 cases
  • Snake River Correctional Institution: 498 cases
  • Kraft Heinz Company: 20 cases
  • Americold Logistics: cases
  • Amalgamated Sugar: 9 cases
  • Oregon Child Development Center – Nyssa: 6 cases
  • Oregon Child Development Center – Ontario: 4 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
  • Vale Elementary School: 0 students, 1 staff/volunteer

Malheur County COVID-19 Cases by Zipcode

  • 97913 (Nyssa): 291 cases, rate of 5265.1 cases per 100,000 people
  • 97914 (Ontario): 1308 cases, rate of 6810.7 cases per 100,000 people
  • 97918 (Vale): 138 cases, rate of 3041.7 cases per 100,000 people

We Need Your Help Preventing COVID-19 Spread

With an increase in outbreaks locally and in surrounding communities, the Malheur County Health Department needs help to stop the spread to prevent more people from getting sick, prevent larger outbreaks, and prevent the need for further restrictions on schools and businesses.

Community Spread Through Outbreaks:

  • Malheur County still has a very high sporadic rate of cases, meaning we don’t know where the positive case was infected. This could mean that there are more cases in the community who don’t know they are sick and are passing along the virus.
  • Several schools and businesses are reporting numbers of cases associated with their buildings. There have also been events where cases are known to have spread to Malheur County residents. If you have been at one of the following, please monitor for symptoms and follow all precautions.
    • October 2, 2020 funeral at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Owyhee Ward in Nyssa
    • Nyssa School District or Four Rivers Community School
    • Fruitland or Parma youth activities
    • Social gatherings of more than 10 people indoors or 25 outdoors
    • Faith-based gatherings of more than 50 people
  • If you have been at a high-risk event or in a setting with reported cases in the last 14 days, the health department recommends you access testing. If you have symptoms, you should isolate immediately and be tested. If you had close contact with a case, you should quarantine and be tested.
  • There are several ways to be tested.
    • Call your health care provider.
    • Visit the Valley Family Health Care Mobile Access Clinic.
    • Call a walk in clinic or make an appointment online for drive through testing Rite Aid.
    • Uninsured or first responder? Rapid tests are available Monday through Thursday by appointment for people without insurance and first responders at the Malheur County Health Department.
    • Go to the Drive-Thru Testing Event October 14th at the Fairgrounds in Ontario:
      • Wednesday, October 14th COVID-19 Testing Event in Ontario
        • When: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
        • Where: Malheur County Fairgrounds (795 NW 9th St, Ontario)
        • Who: Anyone over age seven. No symptoms or exposure required.

What To Do If You Test Positive For COVID-19:

  • Stay Home! We’ll assume you have an infection now and are contagious to other people. Whether or not you have symptoms, stay home and separate from others.
  • If you have symptoms, you can be around others after:
    • You have no fever for 24 hours without the use of medicine, AND
    • Your symptoms improve, AND
    • At least 10 days have passed since your first symptoms
    • Members of your household should stay home for 14 days, longer if you are unable to isolate from them at home.
  • If you don’t have symptoms, you can be around others after:
    • 10 days have passed since your test
    • Members of your household should stay home for 14 days, longer if you are unable to isolate from them at home.
  • A Public Health Case Investigator will call you to explain your test results and give you information on how to protect yourself, family, friends and co-workers until you are not contagious anymore.
  • Tell your close contacts. It might take a couple of days before a health worker calls you, so you should tell close contacts yourself as soon as possible.
  • Resources for staying home: The Case Investigator can also help you figure out what kind of support you need to isolate yourself, and can connect you to organizations that can help with resources you may need (groceries, financial support, help with rent, other essentials).
  • Take care of yourself. It is important to take care of yourself and prevent spreading the virus to others. Learn more from the CDC here.
  • If you work, do not go to work. If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home, even if you don’t have symptoms. Call in sick. Take sick leave if you have it. Isolate yourself. If your employer requires a doctor’s note to stay home, you can contact the Malheur County Health Department or the place where you were tested.

If You Have Been Around Someone With COVID-19:

  • If you have been around someone who has COVID-19, you may need to figure out if you have been in close contact with them.
    • Close contact means spending at least 15 minutes or more at during the course of a day within 6 feet of someone (family, friend, co-worker, acquaintance or someone you don’t know) with or without a face covering. The 15 minutes of contact can be cumulative, not in one single block of time.
    • If you have been in close contact with someone who has symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19, you are at a higher risk of getting sick and spreading the disease to others.
  • How will you know if you have been in close contact?
    • A call from a public health worker.
      • You may get a call from a public health worker to let you know you’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you get a call, follow their instructions.
    • Family, friends or someone else
      • You may hear from a friend, family or your workplace that someone you know has COVID-19. Or you may find out that you visited a business where someone tested positive.
  • To figure out if you had close contact, recall your activities and the precautions you took. Think about:
    • Who you were around and for how long
    • What activities you engaged in
    • What preventive measures you practiced when you were in the building
    • If you’re not sure or have questions, call your healthcare provider or the Malheur County Health Department. If you don’t have a doctor call 211.
  • What should you do?
    • If you were around someone long enough to be considered a close contact, you should quarantine at home for 14 days. Call the Malheur County Health Department to talk to a Case Investigator and tell them you are potentially connected to a case.
    • If you didn’t have close contact, but were around someone with COVID-19, monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days starting from the last time you were around them. Get ready to isolate yourself from others if you start to feel sick.
    • If you did have close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should quarantine to prevent spreading the virus to others. Get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms. It’s best if you wait 3-4 days after you were exposed before taking a test. The test may not work if you get tested too soon. You should stay home and away from others while you wait.

Clarification on School COVID-19 Case Numbers

The Malheur County Health Department (MCHD) has worked closely with the Nyssa School District and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to clarify the numbers reported this week in the OHA Weekly Report. There has been confusion because the numbers did not align with the number of cases we had been tracing. The OHA provided explanation that the number of cases isn’t necessarily individual people because it is the number of staff associated per school who test positive. For example, if someone works in more than one school building and tests positive, they will be listed in both school case reports. This happened for four of the staff attributed to the Middle School and High School. The following is what was reported by OHA:

  • Nyssa High School: 1 student, 5 staff/volunteers
  • Nyssa Middle School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers
  • Nyssa Elementary School: 1 student, 1 staff/volunteer

For the number of individual cases, the report would be the following:

  • Nyssa High School: 1 student, 4 staff/volunteers
  • Nyssa Middle School: 0 students, 1 staff/volunteers
  • Nyssa Elementary School: 1 student, 1 staff/volunteer

There are eight people with positive COVID-19 cases in the last 28 days connected to the Nyssa School District. Three of the staff are associated to a workplace outbreak and had no student contact. The other cases have been investigated and it was identified that they contracted COVID-19 from outside of the school. All cases are isolating and all contacts have been quarantined and have been individually contacted to encourage testing at the Nyssa COVID-19 Testing Event on Monday, October 12th.  

MCHD and the Nyssa School District have been working tirelessly to follow protocols and maintain clear communication. We appreciate the explanation from the OHA and hope this clarifies the reporting.

Upcoming COVID-19 Testing in Nyssa and Ontario

The Malheur County COVID-19 Taskforce encourages people in Malheur County to access free testing at two COVID-19 testing events happening next week. Our goals are to respond to outbreaks, reduce the spread of COVID-19, and get our county back into Phase 2 and off the State Watch List. No symptoms or documentation required.

Monday, October 12th COVID Testing Event in Nyssa

  • When: 10/12/20, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Where: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1309 Park Ave, Nyssa)
  • Who: Anyone.
  • Please: Bring proof of insurance if you have it. No one will be charged.
  • Sponsored by Valley Family Health Care and Malheur County Health Department
  • Nyssa Testing Flyer – English
  • Nyssa Testing Flyer – Spanish

Wednesday, October 14th COVID Testing Event in Ontario

  • When: 10/14/20, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Where: Malheur County Fairgrounds (795 NW 9th St, Ontario)
  • Who: Anyone over age seven.
  • Plus: Flu shots will also be available with limited supply.
  • Sponsored by Oregon Health Authority and Malheur County ICS Team
  • Ontario Testing Flyer – English & Spanish

Additional information on COVID-19, flu shots, and the testing sites is available by calling the Malheur County Health Department at 541-889-7279.

Tips for a safe (but still spooky and fun) Halloween

Consider the risk of the activities you choose this Halloween

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) shares these tips for a safe Halloween. The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping how Oregonians celebrate holidays, and that includes Halloween. But it doesn’t mean Halloween this year can’t still be spooky and fun!

Considere el riesgo de las actividades que elija este Halloween

People in Oregon are creative, they care about their community and they know it’s important to celebrate safely. This year, it’s more important than ever to put safety first because COVID-19 cases have risen recently and holiday gatherings on Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day led to increased case counts. So, this Halloween, be extra mindful of your choices. Choosing low risk Halloween plans can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 illness, decrease the impact on Oregon’s health care system and save lives.

Halloween masks don't protect against COVID-19

This Halloween, the Oregon Health Authority is recommending that Oregonians avoid traditional door-to-door trick or treating and “Trunk or Treat” events because these are high risk activities for crowding among people outside your household. This recommendation aligns with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which also recommends families avoid traditional trick or treating.

Las máscaras de Halloween no protegen contra el COVID-19

Some ideas for safer, low-risk activities include holding an online costume contest, watching a scary movie online, carving pumpkins with people in your household, decorating your house or apartment, or touring the neighborhood to look at decorated houses with members of your household. “If you dress up in a costume, be careful to plan a costume that allows you to wear a face covering,” said State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “Halloween masks will not protect you or others from coronavirus. Wearing a cloth or disposable face mask that fits snugly and covers your mouth and nose is still required while wearing a costume, no matter how scary or silly your costume is.”

U-pick pumpkin patches and COVID-19

For more tips to stay safe this holiday, check out these infographics about Halloween activities and how to safely visit a pumpkin patch or farm, and then share them with your friends and family on your Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Huertas de calabazas y el COVID-19

Nyssa COVID-19 Testing Event Monday 10/12

Click on graphic to download flyer.

To expand testing in Nyssa, the Malheur County Health Department (MCHD) is partnering with Valley Family Health Care to provide free testing Monday, October 12th from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the LDS Church on Park Avenue. There are a number of cases connected to outbreaks MCHD is investigating recently. To prevent additional spread, anyone in the community is encouraged to be tested. Without testing, people are more likely to infect others before they are symptomatic. Many people who are COVID-19 positive never show symptoms, so it’s very important that everyone continue to follow the precautions we know keep us safe:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Keep 6′ distance from others
  • Disinfect commonly used surfaces frequently
  • Isolate with symptoms or if you test positive
  • Stay home if you’re exposed to positive case
  • Wear a face covering whenever you’re around people not in your household
  • Consider wearing a face covering in your household if someone is symptomatic, positive, or if there are people who have underlying health conditions and are more vulnerable to severe cases
  • Avoid large gatherings

OHA Weekly Report Update

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

  • Pioneer Place: 40 cases
  • Riverside Manor: 3 cases
  • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 6 cases
  • Nyssa Gardens: 9 cases
  • Brookdale Assisted Living: 37 cases
  • Snake River Correctional Institution: 476 cases
  • Kraft Heinz Company: 20 cases
  • Americold Logistics: 5 cases
  • Amalgamated Sugar: 9 cases
  • Oregon Child Development Center – Nyssa: 6 cases
  • Oregon Child Development Center – Ontario: 3 cases
  • Nyssa High School: 1 student, 5 staff/volunteers
  • Nyssa Middle School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers
  • Nyssa Elementary School: 1 student, 1 staff/volunteer
  • Four Rivers Community School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers

Malheur County COVID-19 Cases by Zipcode

  • 97913 (Nyssa): 278 cases, rate of 5029.9 cases per 100,000 people
  • 97914 (Ontario): 1253 cases, rate of 6524.3 cases per 100,000 people
  • 97918 (Vale): 131 cases, rate of 2884.4 cases per 100,000 people

New Syringe Disposal Containers in Vale & Ontario

There are safe ways to dispose of syringes left on the ground and at home. You can now dispose used needles and syringes into sharps disposal drop boxes at two locations in Ontario and one in Vale:

  • Outdoors, drop off 24/7:
    • Valley Family Health Care, 789 Washington St W, Vale, OR 97918
    • Mallard Grocery, 797 N Oregon St, Ontario, OR 97914
  • Indoors, drop off during business hours:
    • Malheur County Health Department, 1108 SW 4th Ave, Ontario, OR 97914

For more disposal options or if you have questions, contact the peer dispatch team at 541-709-8539.

Safety Tips

  • Avoid touching or handling needles or syringes found in public places. Parents and caregivers should remind children not to touch needles in parks and playgrounds.
  • If you are accidentally stuck by another person’s used needle or other sharp:
    • Wash the exposed area right away with water and soap or use a skin disinfectant (antiseptic) such as rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. 
    • Seek immediate medical attention by calling your provider right away or going to your local hospital emergency department. Providers will check your immunization status and may begin preventative treatment.
  • Personal safety tips for disposal:  DO’s and DON’Ts: Safe Disposal of Needles and Other Sharps Used At Home, At Work, or While Traveling (FDA)

How do I safely dispose of a syringe?

Follow this step by step guide about how to safely pick up and dispose of syringes.

Step 1: Pick it up

To avoid health risk wear gloves like gardening or kitchen gloves. Some people use tongs, pliers, or a trash grabber. This is a good idea, especially for anyone who is going to pick up a lot of syringes or who is doing a community clean up. 

Step 2: Drop it in

  • Use a hard plastic container such as a sharps container or 20oz water or juice bottle with a lid.
  • Set the container on the ground
  • Drop the syringes in one at a time needle point down

Step 3: Seal it up

  • Close the container tight
  • Seal the top with a piece of tape
  • Label container “sharps do not recycle”

Step 4: Drop it off

Go to the nearest drop box and dispose of syringes one at a time to avoid potential harm.

If you have concerns or do not feel comfortable disposing of syringes, please call the peer dispatch number at 541-709-8539 and they will explain the disposal process or go to the location. 

Thank you for keeping our community safe. 

Please share: October 14 Free COVID-19 Testing Event

Click on flyer to download copy.

Share the Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/39PEtvQGy

The Malheur County COVID-19 Taskforce, in partnership with Oregon Health Authority, and local community-based organizations, is proud to announce an upcoming large COVID-19 testing event. Free COVID-19 testing is available to individuals over age seven at the Malheur County Fairgrounds (795 NW 9th St, Ontario) on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is the 13th and largest planned drive-up testing site organized by the Taskforce.

Flu shots will also be available at the drive-up testing site with limited supply to any Malheur County residents. The Flu Point of Distribution (POD) is for people without insurance who do not have flu or COVID-like symptoms. 

Eligibility

Testing at the Malheur Drive-Up Testing Sites is for any individual over age seven. No symptoms, registration, insurance, or documentation is required.

This testing option is not meant to replace or eliminate other testing offered by local healthcare providers. The goal is to supplement those options in order to ease some of the pressure on the existing system and make the process more accessible to the public. People still should contact their medical provider for guidance and assessment if they have symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. For medical emergencies, they should call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you may have COVID-19.

Testing Procedure

Upon arrival at the Malheur County Fairgrounds testing site, individuals will be required to remain in their vehicles at all times. Each driver should drive cautiously and follow traffic directions. Individuals will be required to complete a screening form. All forms and service available in English and Spanish.

Personnel in full medical protective gear will check the individual’s temperature with a no-touch thermometer and use an oximeter to measure blood oxygen level. Personnel will give instruction on how to self-swab each nostril. The sample will be sent to a laboratory the following day and each person tested will receive a call with negative or positive test results within seven days.

Additional information on COVID-19, flu shots, and the testing site is available by calling the Malheur County Health Department at 541-889-7279.