Yesterday, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released COVID-19 case data by zip code on its website, healthoregon.org/coronavirus. The data is posted in the Weekly Report, in the “Additional Data and Projections” section. The goal of releasing the data is to help people better understand the extent of community-based spread of the virus. The Malheur County Health Department (MCHD) and OHA are committed to being transparent and accountable to all the communities we serve.
OHA acknowledges privacy concerns that may exist as the release of data could potentially lead to the identity of cases. OHA is taking steps to protect privacy of patients by combining data. If a zip code’s population is less than 1000, then OHA combines zip codes and report the aggregate case count. Also, if there are less than 10 cases in a zip code, then OHA reports “1-9.”
For Malheur County, the May 5, 2020 report shows COVID-19 cases in: 97914 (Ontario), 97913 (Nyssa), and 97918 (Vale). Yesterday, MCHD reported a total of 13 positive and 311 negative lab-confirmed test results to date. Because there are less than 10 cases in each of the reported zip codes, the data is reported as “1-9.” This does not necessarily mean that there are not cases in smaller communities. All other zip codes in Malheur County have a population less than 1,000. Across the state, there are 24 identified cases in zip codes with less than 1,000 people. This information is helpful to identify that COVID-19 has infected people in each of the largest cities in Malheur County and potentially in smaller areas. MCHD urges all people to continue following the proactive preventative measures listed below that reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- If you become symptomatic while in public, self-isolate immediately and return home and contact your health care provider if you need medical attention.
- Individuals at risk for severe complications (over age 60 or have underlying medical conditions) should stay home to avoid exposure to COVID-19.
- Practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing or use hand sanitizer.
- Cover coughs/sneezes with elbow or tissue.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Practice physical distancing of at least six feet between you and others not in your household.
- Use cloth face coverings in public. It may be difficult to ensure that you can stay six feet away from others at all times. We recommend that everyone have a cloth or paper face covering available to use in public settings.
- Stay close to home, avoid overnight trips and other non-essential travel. Travel the minimum distance needed to obtain essential services.