First mosquitoes with West Nile virus in Oregon this year found in Malheur County

West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, has been detected in mosquitoes at a testing site in Malheur County, Ore., according to Oregon Public Health officials.

The mosquitoes, found in Vale, are the first to test positive for the disease in Oregon in 2021.

Health officials are advising people in Malheur County to take precautions against mosquitoes to avoid the risk of infection, including preventing mosquito bites. West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most infected people will show little or no signs of disease. 

About one in five people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with febrile illness due to West Nile virus recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. It is important that you contact your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms.

The incubation period is usually two to 14 days. Rarely, infected individuals may develop neuro-invasive disease (infection of the brain or spinal cord) that can be severe or may cause death. This is especially of concern to people 50 and older, people with immune-compromising conditions, and people with diabetes or high blood pressure. 

Communities and individuals living in or spending significant time outdoors, particularly near irrigated land, waterways, standing water, and used tires—including those working in agriculture, such as migrant and seasonal farm workers—may be at increased risk of mosquito bites and related diseases.

The number of mosquito pools—samples of about 50 mosquitoes—that test positive in any area may indicate the risk of human exposure and infection, said Emilio DeBess, D.V.M., public health veterinarian at the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division. Herecommends people and animals be protected against mosquito bites.

“Although mosquitoes are an inevitable part of summer, mosquito bites don’t have to be—they are preventable,” DeBess says. “You can take simple steps to protect yourself and reduce the risk of contracting West Nile disease.”

DeBess offers these tips for protecting yourself against mosquitoes:• Eliminate sources of standing water that are a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including watering troughs, bird baths, ornamental ponds, buckets, wading and swimming pools not in use, and old tires.• When engaged in outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, protect yourself by using mosquito repellants containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus or Picardin, and follow the directions on the container.• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants in mosquito-infested areas.• Make sure screen doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly.

While risk of West Nile disease is low, a handful of people get it each year in Oregon. The virus also affects wildlife and domesticated and farm animals.

In 2019, nine human cases of West Nile virus infection were reported in Oregon, with 85 mosquito pools and seven horses also found to be positive for the virus. In 2018, there were two human cases, with 57 mosquito pools and two horses testing positive. Last year was relatively mild for West Nile, with only three mosquito pools and one bird found to be positive for the virus.

People should consult their health care providers if they have these symptoms. Health care providers can contact the Malheur County for information on West Nile virus testing.

Additional information about West Nile virus: 

Oregon Health Authority website:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

National WIC Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, 2021


Each year in August, National WIC Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week to promote and support breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for a baby’s first year of life. This year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme, Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility, focuses on how breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health and well-being of all moms and their babies. Please click on the link above for resources and ideas to celebrate National WIC Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, 2021.

Breastfeeding websites for parents

Are you pregnant or do you have a child age 5 or younger? Learn more about how WIC can help your family by calling our office at 541-889-7279.

Oregon Health Authority graphic. Yellow background with white paper shows dose 1 today, dose 2 in 3 weeks, then 2 weeks to fully vaccinated. Shooting star with smiley face. Heading back to school? Get vaccinated for COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine authorized for those 12 to 17 years of age. Vaccination with Pfizer requires a first shot, followed by a three-week wait for the second shot, then another two weeks before reaching full immunity - a total of five weeks.

If you are preparing to send your child back to the classroom this fall, you may have questions about vaccinating them against COVID-19.

It’s OK to have questions. Reliable sources of information include the CDC the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and OHA’s website ( For personal questions, your health care provider is your best source for you and your family. They have firsthand knowledge of the vaccine, how it works and what sort of side effects it may have. With most local schools starting over the next 5 weeks, this is a good time to make a plan to vaccinate your child.

The sooner your child is fully immune, the better protected he or she is from catching COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Here are some things to know about vaccinating your child:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
  • COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in adolescents.
  • Your child can’t get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
  • Your child may get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit or without waiting 14 days between vaccines. This is great time to get kids up-to-date on their routine immunizations.
  • When you decide it’s time to get the vaccine for your child, call the MCHD clinic at 541-889-7279 or find a list of local vaccine providers here.
  • Stop by the Malheur County Fair through Saturday from 2-10 p.m. and receive any of the three available COVID-19 vaccines and a $25 gift card! Vaccine booth in the Commercial Building next to the Red Barn.

$30 for ages 14-25 at the Fair! Take a Survey. Get Vaccinated.

It’s Malheur County Fair time! Stop by the Commercial Building (next to the Red Barn) at the fair and visit our MCHD booth now through Saturday night. We have lots of resources for all ages. We are giving away $5 Dutch Bros gift cards for anyone age 14-25 who completes a survey. Just a few booths down in the same building, anyone over the age of 12 is eligible for the free COVID-19 vaccine and will receive a $25 gift card to a locally-owned business! The Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines are all available from 2-10 p.m. through Saturday. Don’t miss this opportunity! Thank you for sharing and have a great time at the Fair!

CDC Update on the COVID-19 Pandemic and Delta Variant

The following is provided by the Centers for Disease Control, July 27, 2021


  1. Getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalization, and death; it also helps reduce the spread of the virus in communities.
    • Unvaccinated individuals should get vaccinated and continue masking until they are fully vaccinated.
    • With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates
  2. Data show Delta is different than past versions of the virus: it is much more contagious.
    • Some vaccinated people can get Delta in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious.
    • Even so, vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country.
    • Virtually all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated.
  3. In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent spread of Delta and protect others.
  4. CDC recommends that community leaders encourage vaccination and masking to prevent further outbreaks in areas of substantial and high transmission.
  5. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.”


Vaccination is the most important public health action to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Get vaccinated to prevent severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
  • We need more people vaccinated.
    • Vaccination coverage by county in the U.S. ranges from 9% to 89%, and remains below 40% in over half of the counties.
  • Areas of low vaccination coverage have rapidly increasing cases
    • COVID-19 cases have increased over 300% nationally from June 19 to July 23, 2021, driven by the highly transmissible B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant.
    • Importantly, while we are seeing case numbers similar to the wave we experienced last summer, there are over 70% fewer deaths due largely to the impact of the vaccines.
    • Healthcare systems are being strained in many states with surging cases, imperiling providers’ ability to deliver care not only for patients with COVID-19 but also those with other healthcare needs.
    • We are in a race against time to increase vaccination coverage before new variants emerge.

We continue to have good evidence that our vaccines are safe and effective, and provide protection against the variants circulating in the United States.

  • Data demonstrate that the vaccines are preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, and are effective against the Delta variant.
  • Vaccination is the best way to protect you, your family, and your community.
  • High vaccination coverage will reduce spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging.

The emerging evidence about the Delta variant demonstrates it is more formidable than the original (wildtype) virus.

  • Delta spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another, compared with earlier strains.
  • Delta has most recently surged to become the predominant variant –from <1% in May to over 80% of cases in July.
  • Delta is causing some “vaccine breakthrough infections,” meaning infections in fully vaccinated people, than other strains have. But, even so:
    • o Most breakthrough infections are mild.
    • o Vaccines are working as they should—they are preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
  • New data show that people infected with Delta have higher viral loads—meaning more virus in their body—than with previous variants.
  • In contrast to the Alpha strain, new data show that fully vaccinated people who are infected with the Delta variant might be infectious and might potentially spread the virus to others


What changed from 2 months ago when you said vaccinated people did not need to mask?

  • Delta variant is surging: it has quickly grown from less than 1% of cases in May to more than 80% now.
  • Delta spreads about twice as easily from one person to another than previous strains of the virus.
  • We (CDC) are constantly evaluating data and monitoring the science to determine what responses may be needed and given emerging evidence that some vaccinated people can get or spread Delta, we are recommending people in substantial and high transmission areas consider masking, even if they’re fully vaccinated.
  • Importantly, the vaccines can help prevent Delta from spreading even further. Most transmission happening around the country is among unvaccinated people and in areas with low vaccination rates. We need more people to get vaccinated to stay ahead of changes in the virus.

Should vaccinated people worry they are spreading the virus?

  • Vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country. Most vaccinated people are protected from the virus – breakthrough cases occur in only a small proportion of vaccinated people and the vast majority are avoiding serious illness, hospitalization, or death.
    • If you get vaccinated, your risk of infection is ~3.5-fold lower, your risk of getting ill from COVID is over 8-fold lower, and your risk of hospitalization or death is ~25-fold lower.
  • But emerging science suggests some vaccinated people can be contagious if they get Delta.
  • In areas of substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends that vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings to prevent spread and protect themselves and others.

Does this mean the vaccines aren’t working as we expected?

  • No. The 162+ million fully vaccinated Americans have a very strong degree of protection against the variants, including Delta. They are overwhelmingly avoiding severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Unvaccinated individuals account for virtually all the hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S.
  • Despite seeing case numbers similar to the surge we experienced last summer, deaths are down more than 70% thanks to vaccination.
  • This is further proof that getting fully vaccinated is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and those around you.

How rare is transmission by the vaccinated?

  • We are continuing to monitor available data, but we know vaccinated people represent a very small proportion of transmission occurring.
  • For example, some data out of Israel showed that as little as 13% of vaccinated people with a breakthrough infection were spreading the virus, with 80% not spreading at all.
  • It’s important to remember breakthrough infections occur in only a small proportion of vaccinated people and of the breakthrough infections, transmission by the vaccinated appears to only be a small part of overall spread of the virus.

If you are vaccinated but asymptomatic, can you spread the virus?

  • We do not have data to inform the likelihood of asymptomatic spread among vaccinated people, but expect that it would be relatively low.

If vaccinated people can spread the virus, shouldn’t everyone wear a mask not just those in high transmission areas?

  • If you are in a low transmission area, your overall risk of getting Delta as a vaccinated person is lower.
  • You can still consider whether you want to take the extra precaution of wearing a mask (particularly if you live with someone who is immunocompromised, unvaccinated, or at risk of severe disease), but at this time we are focused on reducing transmission and therefore urge everyone to get vaccinated and, in areas with substantial or high transmission, to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

What data is this decision based on?

  • We (CDC) are constantly reviewing emerging data and evidence on the Delta variant. This update is based on recent data both here in the United States and in other countries that show a small proportion of fully vaccinated people may be infected with Delta and transmit it.

Does this mean businesses in high transmission areas should reinstitute mask mandates for all workers and customers? Reduce capacity? Should large events be canceled?

  • These are decisions that will be made at the local level by community and business leaders based on what is happening in their area.
  • Right now, we would recommend that, in areas with substantial or high transmission, individuals wear masks in indoor public settings, even if they have been fully vaccinated, and community leaders encourage vaccination and masking to prevent further spread.

What about workplaces or offices? Should people in high or substantial transmission areas be wearing masks at work?

  • Yes. Employers should encourage vaccination and masking in areas of high or substantial transmission.

What about kids in schools? Should they all be masking, even if vaccinated?

  • Yes. Given the high mixing of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in schools, and the fact that vaccines are not available to children under 12, we recommend schools do universal masking.
  • To support in-person learning in the fall, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.

If kids get infected with Delta, are they at serious risk?

  • Most children who get COVID-19 have less symptoms than adults. However, the Delta variant is more transmissible than other variants, therefore protection against exposure is more important than ever, especially among those who are unvaccinated or too young to be vaccinated.
  • We know—based on national antibody studies—that children experience COVID-19 infection, even if they have had less symptoms.
    • National seroprevalence data show that children (age 0-17) have the highest level of antibodies of any age group (27.8%).
  • CDC recommends that parents take appropriate protective actions, such as having children older than age 2 who are unvaccinated wear masks in public indoor settings.
  • To support in-person learning in the fall, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.

Should I be more worried about variants like Delta?

  • Variants are expected as long as transmission continues. Delta is more contagious than previous variants and cases due to the Delta variant are rising rapidly. Unvaccinated individuals should get vaccinated and continue masking until they are fully vaccinated.
  • With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates and among unvaccinated people.

Should fully vaccinated people put their mask back on?

  • The greatest risk right now is to the unvaccinated. Unvaccinated individuals should get vaccinated and continue masking until they are fully vaccinated.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the United states protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from the Delta variant. In rare occasions, some vaccinated people can get Delta in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious. Even so, vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with substantial or high transmission to help prevent spread of Delta and protect others.

Should communities go back to mask mandates?

  • As we have always said, localities may make decisions based on their local situation—CDC urges localities to monitor transmission rates and vaccination coverage, and to add layered prevention strategies when needed to keep their communities safe.
  • Community leaders should encourage vaccination and masking to prevent further spread, in areas with substantial or high transmission.
  • People in high or substantial transmission areas should wear a mask in public indoor settings, even if they are fully vaccinated.
  • It feels like we are seeing more breakthrough infections than just 10% – how many breakthrough infections are we seeing?
  • Breakthrough infections are anticipated even with a highly effective vaccine. There are over 160 million Americans vaccinated and CDC expects about 150,000 symptomatic breakthrough infections through mid-July based on modeled estimates.
  • Importantly, breakthrough infections are mostly resulting in mild disease. If you get vaccinated, your risk of infection, symptomatic disease, and especially hospitalization or death are far lower than in the unvaccinated.

Tips for staying grounded in uncertain times

You may have noticed that COVID-19 cases are on the rise. This difficult news may bring about feelings of frustration or sadness. Last fall we showed this video that offers some actionable tips for grounding yourself in uncertain times from a former OHA Senior Health Advisor, Dr. Jon Betlinski. This may be a helpful resource during this time of uncertainty.  

The video is a clip from a past Facebook Live event focused on mental health. You can also view the full Q&A in English here and in Spanish here.   

OHA recommends universal mask use for all public indoor settings

Person wearing a mask, carrying a shopping basket with toilet paper and reading the label on a can.

In response to a large jump in cases and hospitalizations and in alignment with new national guidance calling for masking measures to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the OHA today is recommending universal mask use in public indoor settings throughout the state to protect people in Oregon from COVID-19.

“Today’s reported sharp rise in cases and hospitalizations in Oregon are sobering reminders that the pandemic is not over, especially for Oregonians who remain unvaccinated,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist and state health officer.

“The highly contagious Delta variant has increased tenfold in the past two weeks in Oregon, and it is now estimated to be associated with 80% of the new cases in Oregon. The use of face masks provides significant protection for individuals who are unvaccinated as well as an additional level protection from a small but known risk of infection by the virus for persons who have already been vaccinated.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are vaccinated with currently available vaccines are protected from the virus and the circulating variants, including the Delta variant that is now seen in the majority of Oregon’s new cases. OHA’s recommendation aligns with the CDC’s new guidance issued today that everyone, including fully vaccinated persons, wear a mask in public indoor settings.

OHA’s recommendation applies statewide, and not just areas with higher infections and high transmission, as cases have increased across the state in recent weeks due to the Delta variant.

OHA is continuing to call on local community and public health leaders, and businesses, to encourage vaccination and masking to prevent new outbreaks in areas of high transmission. See OHA announcement HERE.

Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

Malheur County has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in Oregon with just 30% of the population, far from the protection needed to prevent more outbreaks. This is especially tragic given the fact that Malheur County has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases in the population overall and we’ve experienced tremendous hardships as a community from severe disease and quarantine. Cases are increasing again locally and the percentage of all COVID-19 tests that are positive is increasing, which indicates more community spread. Please urge your loved ones to be vaccinated if they are not yet protected. Everyone age 12 and older are eligible for the free vaccine. Find list of local vaccine providers on our COVID-19 vaccine page or on

The CDC frequently updates their COVID-19 vaccine resources with accurate and reliable information. Learn more below and by clicking HERE.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe

  • COVID-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been around for decades.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental. They went through all the required stages of clinical trials. Extensive testing and monitoring have shown that these vaccines are safe and effective.
  • COVID-19 vaccines have received and continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Learn more about how federal partners are ensuring COVID-19 vaccines work.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective

Once you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing more

COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection

  • Get vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19,.
  • Learn more about the clinical considerations for people were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, or history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults or children (MIS-A or MIS-C).
  • COVID-19 is still a threat to people who are unvaccinated. Some people who get COVID-19 can become severely ill, which could result in hospitalization, and some people have ongoing health problems several weeks or even longer after getting infected. Even people who did not have symptoms when they were infected can have these ongoing health problems.

Immunity after COVID-19 vaccination

  • There is still a lot we are learning about COVID-19 vaccines and CDC is constantly reviewing evidence and updating guidance. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated.
  • What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people.
  • If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.
  • At this time, there are limited data on vaccine effectiveness in people who are immunocompromised, including those taking immunosuppressive medications. Learn more about the considerations for fully vaccinated people who are immunocompromised.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines can make you sick with COVID-19

None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. Learn more Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines

Get Help

  • Get answers to questions or help finding a vaccine near you.
  • Help is available in English, Spanish, and many other languages.
  • Call 1-800-232-0233 
  • TTY 1-888-720-7489 (TTY (Teletypewriter) allows users to send typed messages across phone lines)
  • Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL): Call 1-888-677-1199 or email

Urgent Weather Message

From the National Weather Service:


WHAT: Dangerously hot conditions with temperatures up to 107  expected. 

WHERE: Portions of northeast and southeast Oregon and  southwest and west central Idaho. 

WHEN: From 2 PM MDT this afternoon to midnight MDT Monday night. 

IMPACTS: Extreme heat will significantly increase the  potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those  working or participating in outdoor activities. 

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS: Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible.

To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequentrest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 911.

Boost Oregon Opportunities

Peer Advocacy Workshops August 10 (Spanish) and August 13 (English)

YOU can build a healthier future for your community! Boost Oregon empowers people to make science-based vaccine decisions. We know that the best educators are community members like you. Sign up to be a peer advocate, and Boost Oregon will give you the training and tools you need to empower others to make informed health decisions.

As a peer advocate, you will: Learn how to talk about vaccines with your friends and family; Understand the facts and debunk the myths about vaccines; Access Boost Oregon’s expertise and receive support from our medical educators and staff; and Join a growing force of peer advocates who feel passionately about improving our communities’ health! Our next trainings are August 10, 7-10 p.m. in Spanish and August 13, 2-5 p.m. in English. Complete the program form first HERE then register for the August 10 Spanish event HERE or the August 13 English event HERE.

Peer Advocacy Flyer Back.png

August 16 – Community Workshop on Children’s Vaccines

Do you or someone you know have questions about their children’s vaccines? Attend our next community workshop on August 16 at 8 p.m. MT to get answers without judgment. Click here to register. This workshop will be led by mom and pediatric physician’s assistant, Rebecca Reveal, PA-C.