August COVID-19 Drive-Up Testing Sites

The Malheur County COVID-19 Taskforce is offering free COVID-19 testing to individuals who meet specific criteria at three testing sites in August in Ontario, Nyssa, and Vale. The events will conclude twelve testing sites coordinated by the Taskforce. Results from testing were increasingly delayed in June and July and the Taskforce will now send specimens to the Oregon State Public Health Lab and expect a turnaround of five to seven days.

Testing Site Opportunities

  • Ontario: Wednesday, August 5th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Malheur County Fairgrounds 795 NW 9th St, Ontario
  • Nyssa: Wednesday, August 12th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • LDS Church 1309 Park Ave, Nyssa
  • Vale: Wednesday, August 19th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • LDS Church 135 Yakima St. S., Vale

Eligibility

Testing at the Malheur Drive-Up Testing Sites is only for individuals who live or work in Malheur County. A person qualifies for testing if they have symptoms or if they identify as part of a group disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Symptoms

  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Without symptoms, but part of following groups:

  • Close contacts of a person with COVID-19
  • People exposed to COVID-19 in congregate setting
  • Migrant/seasonal agricultural workers upon arrival in Oregon
  • People who identify as Black, African-American, Latino, Latina, Latinx, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Asian-American or Pacific Islander
  • People who identify as having a disability
  • People whose first language is not English
  • First Responders

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.

Procedure

Upon arrival at the testing site, individuals will be required to remain in their vehicles at all times. Each driver should drive cautiously and follow traffic directions. You will be required to complete a screening form, which includes where you live and work, high risk factors, and a release of liability. All forms and service available in English and Spanish. A walk-up option will be available and marked for individuals without transportation.

Personnel in full medical protective gear will use a swab to obtain the necessary sample from the individual’s nose. If you do not meet the testing criteria, you will be diverted back to your residence to monitor symptoms and contact your local healthcare provider.

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

#KeepMalheurCountyOpen

We’ve been missing a lot lately: hugs, smiles, lip reading. So let’s not miss this: a big part of what makes us human is our willingness to give up some of our own comfort to help out a neighbor. Malheur County has over 30,000 reasons to mask up, but the only one you’ll need, is probably right next to you. Mask up Malheur County.

“Keep Malheur County Open” Campaign Launches

Download this graphic and share on social media!

Today the Malheur County Court, Malheur County Health Department, and Malheur County COVID-19 Taskforce announce the “Keep Malheur County Open” campaign.

Please download, print, post, and share the following posters to support businesses and the health of our community:

Malheur County has one of the highest rates of new COVID-19 cases in the state, with 136 new COVID-19 cases reported in the last ten days, bringing the total case count to 538. Over 435 of those people are potentially still infectious. There have been 415 positive cases reported in Malheur County since July 1st. The percentage of positive tests has also significantly increased from 4.6% June 22nd to 16.7% July 22nd, the highest it has ever been. In response to these alarming numbers, the Office of the Governor Kate Brown placed Malheur County on a Watch List. Malheur County faces increased restrictions if the metrics do not improve.

All of us play an important part as Malheur County remains open. Here is what all members of the community must do to keep our businesses open as we move forward:

  • Physical Distance: Be at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with. Stay home if you are sick. Stay close to home and avoid trips outside your community.
  • Protect Others: Cover your cough and sneeze with elbow or tissue. Avoid touching your face. Use face coverings in public.
  • Keep Clean: Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Frequently clean your work and living space, especially high touch places like doors and handles.

It is absolutely critical that everyone does their part to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for themselves and those who are most vulnerable in our County. It will take several solutions from all sectors of our community to flatten the curve of new infections and save lives. Together, We Can Keep Malheur County Open.

Download this graphic to use on as the banner on your Facebook page!

Governor Kate Brown Announces New Requirements for Face Coverings and Businesses to Stop Spread of COVID-19

Effective July 24, children 5 and up to wear face coverings.

In light of the continued spread of COVID-19 in Oregon––including a troubling rise in cases of community spread that cannot be traced and contained––Governor Kate Brown today announced new statewide health and safety measures, including new requirements for face coverings and businesses, effective Friday, July 24. Unless the spread of COVID-19 begins to slow, the Governor made clear that additional restrictions would be necessary.

“Oregon, we ventured out onto the ice together and that ice has begun to crack. Before we fall through the ice, we need to take steps to protect ourselves and our community,” said Governor Kate Brown. “So it’s time for further actions to slow the spread of this disease. Keep in mind, this is not an on or off switch. This disease is something that, for the time being, we must live with. However, when we see numbers rise, we must respond in turn. We must dim the lights. We must scale back, limit our interactions, take more precautions.”

Beginning July 24, the following new requirements will apply:

Face Coverings
• Face coverings will be required for all Oregonians ages five and up in indoor public spaces and outdoors when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.
• Face coverings will be required even in cases of physical exertion indoors, and outdoors when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.

Businesses
• The maximum indoor capacity limit is capped at 100 for all venues in Phase II counties and for restaurants and bars in Phase I or II counties.
• Restaurants and bars will be required to stop serving customers at 10:00 P.M statewide.

A recording of the Governor’s press conference from Wednesday, July 22, is available here.

A full transcript of the Governor’s remarks from Wednesday, July 22, is available here.

Updated guidance will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov.

Keep Outdoor Gatherings Safe

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says 'Face coverings now required in outdoor public places where you cannot physically distance STATEWIDE RULE Effective July 15'

MCHD case investigators are still tracing multiple COVID-19 cases to social gatherings, where people have not followed the guidance to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Please share the information below and keep your social activities as safe as possible.

  • Statewide, everyone in Oregon needs to follow these rules:
    • No group of 10 or more individuals are to socially gather indoors
    • Groups of less than 10 individuals gathering indoors are to wear face coverings, observe social distancing guidelines and keep six feet between individuals.
    • Groups of less than 25 individuals gathering outdoors are to wear face coverings, observe social distancing guidelines and keep six feet between individuals.
  • Countywide, everyone needs to follow the additional guidance from the current Malheur County resolution:
    • No group of 25 or more individuals are to gather outdoors.

The resolution recommends measures for local social gatherings when individuals are from different households. Even if the people you are gathering with are extended family, coworkers, neighbors, or close friends, you should ensure the group is kept to 10 or less indoors, 25 or less outdoors, and that everyone over age 12 wears a face covering if 6 foot physical distance is not maintained at all times.

It is very important that we slow the spread of COVID-19 to save lives, reduce outbreaks, keep businesses open, and get kids back to school in person. None of this could happen if our rates of COVID-19 keep increasing.

Malheur County is now ranked #2 in the state for the rate of cases.

New Page: COVID-19 Resources

Visit our COVID-19 Resources page for quick links to the most current guidance and information on COVID-19.

Find answers to questions about:

  • reopening guidance
  • sector specific rules
  • community resources for individuals needing assistance
  • filing a complaint
  • different state department responses
  • federal recommendations
  • upcoming drive-up testing sites

If you can’t find what you need, follow up with our office and county partners:

  • Malheur County Health Department: 541-889-7279
    • Nurse line, public health services, questions about virus, exposure, or cases.
  • Malheur County Environmental Health: 541-473-5186
    • Business guidance, enforcement, filing OSHA complaint and follow up.
  • Malheur County Emergency Management: 541-473-5120
    • Law enforcement, PPE supply, and testing.

Assess Your Activity: COVID-19 Risk

We reported fewer COVID-19 cases over the last several days and while that is worth celebrating, the positive rate remained high (16%) because the total number of tests reported was also relatively low. Last week saw another record-breaking day for new COVID-19 cases in Oregon and Idaho surpassed the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Oregon, with only 40% of the population of Oregon.

The continuing increase in cases around Malheur County is a reminder of just how important wearing a face covering, frequent hand washing, physical distancing and staying home when you’re sick or under isolation or quarantine continue to be.

COVID-19 is still in our communities, and we each have a role to play in reducing its spread. As you consider your weekend plans, here are four questions you can ask yourself to assess how risky they are.

Malheur County Announces Three New Deaths Associated with COVID-19

The Malheur County Health Department (MCHD) is saddened to announce the fourth, fifth and sixth deaths in Malheur County associated with COVID-19 in the last week. Our hearts go out to the family and friends who have lost a loved one.

The fourth death occurred in a woman in her 50s. She tested positive previous to death and passed away at home on July 13th.

The fifth death occurred in a male in his 90s. He tested positive previous to death and passed away at home on July 15th.

The sixth death occurred in a male in his 50s. He tested positive previous to death and passed away on July 16th in a Boise area hospital.

Case investigators are diligently working on these cases and the drastic surge in cases recently. MCHD urges everyone to take precautions seriously to protect the spread of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable in our community. MCHD will no longer publish press releases for each death, but will continue to update all COVID-19 tests, case demographics, hospitalizations, and deaths daily at https://malheurhealth.org/covid-19-cases/.

Malheur County COVID-19 Resolution and Proclamation

Today, the Malheur County Court approved a resolution to protect Malheur County citizens and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 emergency through temporary social gathering measures restricting the size of local social gatherings, effective immediately.

The resolution recommends the following measures for local social gatherings when individuals are from different households:

  • No group of 10 or more individuals are to socially gather indoors (current statewide ban)
  • No group of 25 or more individuals are to gather outdoors.
  • Groups of less than 10 individuals gathering indoors are to wear face coverings, observe social distancing guidelines and keep six feet between individuals.
  • Groups of less than 25 individuals gathering outdoors are to wear face coverings, observe social distancing guidelines and keep six feet between individuals.
  • These temporary measures for local social gatherings include civic, cultural and private social gatherings and events, such as large back-yard weddings, private rodeo clubs, parties, book clubs and non-profit events.
  • The limitations do not apply or change the State Phase 2 guidance with respect to businesses and churches. Read the resolution for more detailed information.

Also, today, the Malheur County Court approved a proclamation: Together, We Can Keep Malheur County Open.

The proclamation requests our communities and citizens to unite and commit to pandemic guiding principles so that “Together, We Can Keep Malheur County Open” during the COVID-19 emergency.

Guiding principles:

  • We endorse a message campaign led by the Malheur County Health and Environmental Heath Departments as well as the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office – Emergency Management Division – illustrating and reminding our community members what they must do to keep Malheur County businesses open and to move forward.
  • We are committed to:
    • Physical Distancing
    • Protecting Others
    • Keeping Clean
    • Read more details in the proclamation.