Mask and quarantine rules change Saturday

Updated guidance from the Oregon Health Authority eliminates quarantine requirements starting Saturday, March 12, for most people who were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. People who test positive for COVID-19 should still isolate for at least five days after the onset of symptoms, as long as symptoms are improving and the person is fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication. If you’re exposed to someone with COVID-19, and you’re not showing symptoms, you will no longer need to quarantine away from others. Quarantining after exposure to someone with COVID-19 is still recommended in high-risk settings like congregate care settings, jail, and health care settings. If you have symptoms, you still need to isolate away from others, regardless of a test. If you’re sick, stay home. This also means children should not go to school or daycare if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

Masks will still be required in healthcare settings such as hospitals, doctor offices, dentist offices, urgent care clinics and dialysis centers, as well as  airports and on airplanes, and on public transportation. Individual school districts and businesses may set their own mask rules that are more restrictive. People who wish to continue wearing masks in public may do so and should not be discriminated against. Most contact tracing and case investigation will end March 12 with the updated guidance from the Oregon Health Authority.

“While it may feel like time to burn our masks and celebrate, I think it’s important to note that COVID-19 is not ‘over,’ and we should continue to be vigilant in protecting the vulnerable people around us. We have lost a heartbreaking 101 Malheur County residents to this virus in just two years. Much of the severe illness and loss could have been prevented with the vaccine,” said Angie Sillonis, Public Information Officer for Malheur County Health Department.

Information about vaccine clinics in Malheur County can be found on the Health Department’s event calendar, or by calling the Health Department at 541-889-7279. Every Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., people are encouraged to walk into our clinic at 1108 SW 4th Avenue in Ontario and request a vaccine. All types of COVID-19 vaccines are available for people age 5 and older.

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