Avoid counterfeit at-home tests

Counterfeit at-home COVID-19 tests are circulating throughout the United States. Counterfeit tests are not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and may not function properly.

At this time, the FDA has identified two counterfeit tests that are made to look a lot like Flowflex COVID-19 Test Kits and iHealth Antigen Rapid Test Kits. (iHealth tests distributed by Oregon Health Authority are NOT counterfeit.)

For examples of counterfeit at-home COVID-19 tests, what to do if you have one and other testing resources, visit http://ow.ly/cZtL50J82sf.

Before using an at-home COVID-19 test, make sure it’s on the FDA’s list of authorized at-home tests: http://ow.ly/l1W950J82sg

You can also order free COVID-19 tests directly from the federal government which are not counterfeit: http://ow.ly/n64n50J82se

Measure 110 Oversight and Accountability Council approves more Behavioral Health Resource Network applications for Oregon counties

The Measure 110 Oversight and Accountability Council this week approved applications for drug treatment and recovery services in six additional counties, including Malheur County, bringing the overall total to 27.

The approvals are nearing a final phase in a continuing process to award approximately $265 million in funds to substance use treatment providers across Oregon.

In Malheur County, Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living will be awarded money to provide housing services and harm reduction intervention; while Origins Faith Community and Lifeways, Inc., will receive funding for screening and comprehensive behavioral health needs, individual intervention planning, low barrier substance use treatment, peer support, mentoring, etc., housing services, harm reduction intervention and supported employment.

Grants will run from July of 2022 through December of 2023. To receive funding, successful applicants must be able to provide all the required services or work cooperatively with other providers to establish a coordinated network.

Measure 110 is also known as the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act. The creation of Behavioral Health Resource Networks is a requirement of Measure 110 – to provide screening health assessment, treatment and recovery services for substance use disorder for all who need and want access to those services; and to adopt a health approach to substance use disorders by removing criminal penalties for low-level drug possession.

Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Education release ‘Fentanyl & Opioid Response Toolkit’ for schools

Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education are releasing a Fentanyl & Opioid Response Toolkit for Schools to support educators, administrators, school nurses, students and families. The toolkit is in response to a public health crisis related to rising youth and adult opioid overdoses and deaths in Oregon. 

This toolkit provides information about how schools can create an emergency protocol to administer naloxone, also known as Narcan. The toolkit includes information on how to access, administer and store this life-saving opioid overdose prevention medication. In addition, the toolkit has resources to support staff training, prevention education and other resources essential to developing and implementing school emergency response procedures.

“The resources in this toolkit can save lives,” said Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education. “We strongly encourage schools to adopt policies and practices for safe and effective management and prevention of opioid-related overdoses in schools. When drug-related emergencies occur in or around schools, proper response is critical to save lives.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from May 2020 to April 2021, deaths due to accidental overdose surpassed 100,000 for the first time on record. Sixty-four percent of those deaths were attributed to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which often comes in the form of pills that closely resemble prescription oxycodone or benzodiazepines such as Xanax.

In Oregon, fentanyl-related overdose deaths increased by 74% from 2019 to 2020, for a total of 298 fentanyl-related deaths in 2020.

“Rising opioid overdose deaths are a public health crisis, and schools are the heart of Oregon communities. Unfortunately, this trend is expected to continue, as Oregon has continued to see an increase in accidental overdose deaths due to fentanyl,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen.

Some additional facts about fentanyl can be found on the Fentanyl Awareness Day website, here. Among the facts given on that site, “according to the CDC, fentanyl is involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any other cause of death, including heart disease, cancer, and all other accidents. Among teenagers, overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl tripled in the past two years, yet 73% have never heard of fake prescription pills being made with fentanyl.”

Image courtesy DEA.gov

What are COVID-19 community levels?

The CDC‘s COVID-19 Community Levels tool, updated every week, uses multiple factors to rate the level of COVID-19 spread in your county and can help you make decisions about how to approach activities such as grocery shopping, masking, travel and more.

To learn more, read our recent story about how to use regional CDC and OHA data to help make those decisions: https://covidblog.oregon.gov/how-to-use-regional-covid…/

Vaccines coming to Nyssa

The Malheur County Health Department, in cooperation with the Nyssa Senior Citizens, will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Nyssa Senior Center, 316 Good Ave., beginning at 11:30 Tuesday, May 17. The clinic will follow the Center’s Bingo activity.

With second boosters now recommended for people over 50, as well as people over 16 who are immunocompromised, as well as two new subvariants taking over the northeastern United States, now is a great time to get a second booster.

Thank you, nurses

Nurses make a difference as trusted advocates who ensure individuals, families, and populations receive quality patient care and services. Nurses make a difference by influencing and shaping health policy decisions that ensure all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage.

Malheur County Health Department recognizes and thanks the nurses who work with us every day to help ensure a healthier Malheur County, not only during National Nurses Week, but every week.

The goal of National Nurses Week is to recognize the contributions and sacrifices nurses make every day, and to remind us all to thank nursing professionals for their hard work to keep us healthy. Nurses Week is celebrated between May 6, National Nurses Day, and May 12, the birthdate of celebrated nurse Florence Nightingale.

With more than 3 million licensed nurses in the US today, nurses make up the highest percentage of the US healthcare workforce. Please join us in showing appreciation and gratitude for the nurses of MCHD.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Prioritize your own mental wellness in May. We’ve all been through a lot lately. As we persevere, let’s find joy in making our mental health a priority. What makes you happy?

The attached template, 8 Dimensions of Wellness, from SAMHSA, is an easy way of establishing a self-care plan. List three things under each of the Dimensions that are important to you.

If you aren’t doing so, you should make a plan to practice some type of self-care daily. Make a plan today to care for your own mental health.

A Healing Space

Four Rivers Healthy Community and friends of our Health Department co-worker Nathaniel Sean Stringer have plans to plant a tree and install a bench in his memory.

If you would like to contribute toward the cost of these items, please go to the Four Rivers Healthy Community website to donate online, or follow the instructions on the picture below.

Get tested for hepatitis

Hepatitis C often has no symptoms until serious liver damage has occurred. Getting tested is the only way to know if you have hepatitis C. All adults should get tested. Talk to your doctor – it could save your life.

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function may be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis.

Hepatitis is most often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Although all types of viral hepatitis cause similar symptoms, they are spread in different ways, have different treatments, and some are more serious than others.

All adults, pregnant people and people with risk factors should get tested for hepatitis C. Most people who get infected with hepatitis C virus develop a chronic, lifelong infection. Left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can cause serious health problems, including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death. People can live without symptoms or feeling sick, so testing is the only way to know whether you have hepatitis C. Getting tested is important to find out whether you’re infected so you can get lifesaving treatment to cure hepatitis C.

How is hepatitis C spread?

The hepatitis C virus is usually spread when someone comes into contact with blood from an infected person. This can happen through:

  • Sharing drug injection equipment. Today, most people become infected with hepatitis C by sharing needles, syringes, or any other equipment used to prepare and inject drugs.
  • Birth. Approximately 6% of infants born to infected mothers will get hepatitis C.
  • Healthcare exposures. Although uncommon, people can become infected when healthcare professionals do not follow the proper steps needed to prevent the spread of bloodborne infections.
  • Sex with an infected person. While uncommon, hepatitis C can spread during sex, though it has been reported more often among men who have sex with men.
  • Unregulated tattoos or body piercings. Hepatitis C can spread when getting tattoos or body piercings in unlicensed facilities, informal settings or with non-sterile instruments.
  • Sharing personal items. People can get infected from sharing glucose monitors, razors, nail clippers, toothbrushes and other items that may have come into contact with infected blood, even in amounts too small to see.
  • Blood transfusions and organ transplants. Before widespread screening of the blood supply in 1992, hepatitis C was also spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

Call your provider, or the Malheur County Health Department to schedule a test for hepatitis C. There are treatments available, which lead to cures.

#KnowHepC https://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/

End HIV in Oregon

Imagine an Oregon where…
We end new HIV infections.
Everyone with HIV is healthy.
Can you imagine it? 

End HIV Oregon. 

Testing is easy.

Everyone has an HIV status and all Oregonians need to know theirs. It’s as easy as ever to get tested for HIV. Confidential HIV testing is available throughout Oregon. There are rapid tests which give results within 20 minutes, including home HIV test kits that can be purchased in drug stores and pharmacies. If you live in Oregon and haven’t been tested for HIV in the past year, you may qualify for a free at-home rapid HIV test. You can also ask your doctor for a confidential HIV test as part of a routine medical visit. Most insurance plans cover the cost of HIV testing. Free, confidential testing is offered at the Malheur County Health Department. Call 541-889-7279 to schedule an appointment.

HIV testing is recommended for everyone at least once in their life. Six out of every 10 Oregonians have never been tested for HIV, and Oregon sees 210-230 new infections every year. In 2020 and 2021, new HIV cases nearly quadrupled in Eastern Oregon.

Getting tested is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Order a free at-home HIV test kit here.

Order free condoms here.

Contact the Malheur County Health Department for more information, for a free, confidential HIV test, or for free condoms.

More information about ending HIV in Oregon can be found here.