Cooling centers available during heat wave

Dangerously hot conditions with triple-digit temperatures are forecasted for this week. Now is the time to prepare. Learn more: go.usa.gov/xFPvu

Check on family, friends & neighbors vulnerable to heat to help them stay safe.

En Español:🌡️ Se pronostican condiciones peligrosamente calurosas con temperaturas de tres dígitos para esta semana. Ahora es el momento de prepararse. Aprende más: go.usa.gov/xFPvu

Tenga cuidado con los familiares, amigos y vecinos vulnerables al calor para ayudar a mantenerlos a salvo.

EOCCO will provide free rides to EOCCO members during this heat wave. The summer heat wave can be dangerous. We at EOCCO can help.

People who need rides to cooling stations should call 1-877-875-4657 to schedule a ride.

Cooling centers in Malheur County are: 

  • Origins Faith Community’s New Hope Day Shelter, 312 NW 2nd St., Ontario
  • Four Rivers Cultural Center,  676 SW 5th Ave., Ontario
  • More resources
  • Helping Older Adults in Your Community 
  • During hot weather, think about making daily visits or phone calls to older relatives and neighbors. Remind them to drink lots of water or juice, as long as their doctor hasn’t recommended other steps because of a pre-existing condition. If there is a heat wave, offer to help them go somewhere cool. These can be places like air-conditioned malls, libraries, or senior centers. Or offer a ride in an air-conditioned car.
  • Heat-related illness can sneak up on people and bring a risk of fainting. Checking in is a great idea.
  •  
  • To connect with senior services in your area, reach out to the Aging & Disability Resource Connection of Oregon: https://www.adrcoforegon.org/consumersite/index.php
  • 1-855-673-2372.
May be a cartoon of 1 person and text that says 'Take Care of One Another 00 Check on your neighbors, family and friends, especially they are vulnerable to extreme heat. ശലിലില QEM Oregon: Stronger and Safer Together'

WIC Farmers Market continues until 6 today

The Farmers Market on the lawn in front of the Health Department at 1108 SW 4th St. continues until 6 p.m. today, and the farmer will return next week to offer fresh fruits and vegetables to anyone who wants them.

Additionally, until 6 today, women who are pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding, and children under 5 can come to the Health Department and receive information about WIC and its healthy benefits for mother and child. Those who are already enrolled are eligible to receive Farm Direct Checks worth $28 for fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers.

MCHD hosts WIC Farmers Market

A Farmers Market, open to the public, is being held Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 10 and 11, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Malheur County Health Department office, 1108 SW 4th St. in Ontario. Women and children who are enrolled in the WIC program may be eligible to receive $28 worth of WIC Farm Direct checks to use with local farmers at the Farmers Market or at their farm stand.

Women who are pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding and children under 5 may be eligible for WIC. Information about the program is also available at the Farmers Market.

50 Malheur COVID-19 Cases Reported in 3 Days

May be an image of one or more people and text that says 'The Delta variant is more contagious than previous strains-it may cause more than 2x as many infections DELTA VARIANT ORIGINAL COVID-19 STRAIN ရံ= Vaccines protect you from hospitalization, severe infections, and death CDC cdc.gov/coronavirus 322041-AA 08/02/2021'

Between Monday and Wednesday this week, 50 COVID-19 cases were reported to the Malheur County Health Department. An additional five have been reported for Thursday, with more expected before end of day. Like many other counties with low vaccination rates, this is likely a sign we are entering a surge in outbreaks and severe cases due to variants, like Delta, and low rates of protection from immunization. We want to make COVID-19 vaccination easy and accessible to everyone in Malheur County. Visit covidvaccine.oregon.gov or call our office at 541-889-7279 to schedule an appointment for anyone age 12 and older.

The Delta variant is more contagious than previous COVID-19 strains and may cause more than twice as many infections. To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public – even if you’re already vaccinated and are in an area of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission. If you’re not vaccinated against COVID-19, get vaccinated as soon as you can.

If you have even mild symptoms or have been around someone with symptoms or a confirmed case recently, please stay home and get tested. Find a test by visiting the OHA COVID-19 Testing page or call your local health care provider or pharmacy. 211 is also a great resource for testing, vaccine, health care, and other assistance. Visit the 211info website or call 211.

Visit our COVID-19 Cases page for more information on weekly monitored periods. Visit the Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 website and find more, including dashboards with county level data.

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Take Your Shot Malheur County Winner Announced

On August 2nd, the 36 $10,000 winners of the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign were announced. One vaccinated individual was selected for each of Oregon’s 36 counties. Congratulations to Kristin Carfi, Malheur County resident, who won the county prize.

Winners are the last to be announced of the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign, which was first launched in order to encourage Oregonians to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Governor Brown previously announced the winner of the $1 million prize of the campaign several weeks ago, which went to Oregon State University student Chloe Zinda. You can read more about her story here.

In July, five more Oregonians ages 12–17 were selected as the winners of the five $100,000 scholarship prizes that were up for grabs. On June 22, Governor Brown added four new prizes to the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign, courtesy of Travel Oregon. The Eastern Oregon winner of the Travel Oregon prizes is Jetty Swart. Congratulations, Jetty! The four travel prizes are valued at up to $2,000 and included lodging, accommodations, dining and activities for two at iconic Oregon travel destinations.

An additional 10 $2,500 winners have been selected in Malheur County through the campaign. One local winner, Sharon Gardner, sent the Malheur County Health Department a heartwarming letter with her reasons for being vaccinated.

Sharon wrote, “My opinion is each individual must be responsible for his or her health care choices. Here are the reasons I chose to get the Covid shots. #1 When I get the flu shot every year then I don’t even catch a cold. #2 The Bible says man is given three score and ten years. That is just when the warranty runs out. My old 1997 Oldsmobile’s warranty ran out years ago. But with regular oil changes, liquid and lube care it has continued to run beautifully and has many more years and miles in it. I am 81 years old, but I too figure I have many more years and miles ahead of me. So getting the Covid shots was just good maintenance sense. #3 It will protect me and my friends, family and neighbors with whom I can come in contact. I owe it to them to be as healthy as I can be. Plus my name or number went into the Covid lottery pool. I am one of the ten persons who won $2,500 in Malheur Co. So for me, the shots were a win win.”

The Malheur County Health Department congratulates the winners and thanks all who’ve chosen to protect themselves and the people around them from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. While the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign has now concluded, the need for vaccination remains. If you haven’t done so already, schedule your vaccine appointment today by visiting Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon or call MCHD at 541-889-7279.

Significant rise in Malheur COVID-19 cases

The Malheur County Health Department has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases recently. The highly transmissible delta variant is fueling an increase in COVID-19 cases nationally, including in Idaho and Oregon. “Cases are increasing and this is certainly due to the increasing percentage of the delta variant in Oregon. This has been seen in communities across the world,” Tim Heider, a spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority, said last Friday. “If you are fully vaccinated, you are well protected from COVID, including the delta variant. If you are not vaccinated, make a plan to do so, and take precautions like wearing a mask indoors and in outdoor crowded places until you are vaccinated.”

Because Malheur County has such a low rate of protection from the vaccine, we expect to see a greater surge than neighboring counties do with better vaccination rates. That surge will result in more outbreaks, more people with severe disease, and more people quarantined. Nearly all severe cases and deaths from COVID-19 have been in the unvaccinated population. While we are seeing some breakthrough cases in vaccinated people, it is more rare and people are significantly less sick. The vaccine is very effective, safe, and is the only way we will prevent more deaths and the many hardships individuals, families, and businesses experience with positive cases.

The chart below (updated weekly on the COVID-19 Cases page here) shows the increase over the past month and excludes the 25 cases reported yesterday, August 2nd, indicating we expect a steeper rise on the next report.

Weekly Monitoring Periods – OHA Report

DatesCasesRate/100kPositivity
07/04-07/171546.77.6%
07/11-07/242887.27.9%
07/18-07/3153165.19.2%

Find more about the current COVID-19 situation on the Eastern Oregon Region 9 COVID-19 Dashboard below.

Region 9 COVID-19 Dashboard

We advise the public to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. These measures include:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 with any symptoms or potential exposure to a person positive for COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hand, when coughing or sneezing and discard tissue immediately in a waste container.
  • Wear a face covering in indoor, public settings or in private settings with people who are at high-risk for severe disease.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This will help prevent the spread of germs.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill or who are quarantined due to contact with an infectious person.
  • If you are ill or a contact of a person with COVID-19, stay home and avoid exposing others to your illness. Do contact your doctor if you have any concerns.
  • Get vaccinated!

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. He recommends 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: http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/DiseasesAZ/WestNileVirus/Pages/survey.aspx

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile