Free COVID-19 Testing 12/1 in Ontario

Free COVID-19 testing is available at the Malheur County Fairgrounds (795 NW 9th St, Ontario) on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Register first:  https://doineedacovid19test.com/

PRINT AND BRING YOUR VOUCHER WITH YOU. Staff will be available to assist anyone without a printed voucher. But those with the ability to register online and print their voucher first should do so to improve the wait time and complete most of the paperwork ahead of time.

This is the 15th drive-up testing site organized by the Taskforce. Each event is improved by what we’ve learned. For December’s event, we have extended hours from noon to 6 p.m. Community Based Organizations are encouraged to volunteer. Call Alliana Ramirez at 208-296-0621 to help!

Share the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/365086311462587/

Malheur in Extreme Risk: After the ‘freeze,’ Oregon will introduce new framework for counties

Starting December 3rd, Malheur County will follow new extreme risk safety measures.

After the statewide “two-week freeze” ends on Dec. 2, Oregon will introduce a new framework of safety measures dependent on each county’s risk. Governor Kate Brown appeared at a news conference today with OHA and Oregon Health & Sciences University officials to discuss the new measures.

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations at an all-time high for the pandemic, Governor Brown also urged Oregonians to keep their Thanksgiving gatherings small and use precautions to protect themselves and loved ones from the spread of COVID-19.

The new framework has four risk levels based on counties’ current COVID-19 spread, to take effect after the “freeze” ends next week. At each risk level — Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk — health and safety measures and guidance for businesses and individuals will apply.

The framework is intended to establish sustainable protection measures for Oregonians in counties with rapid spread of COVID-19, while balancing the economic needs of families and businesses in the absence of a federal aid package.

At least 21 counties will likely initially fall in the “extreme risk” category (including Malheur County). Click here for a list of counties in each risk level using data available as of Nov. 23. On Monday, Nov. 30, OHA will re-examine county data to determine which counties qualify for each risk level on Dec. 3, following the end of the “freeze.”

Oregon counties that reduce their COVID-19 risk levels in coming weeks and months will be able to incrementally move to lower levels.

It’s important to note that there is no zero risk category. Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, health and safety precautions will remain in place so that schools, businesses and communities can reopen, and stay open.

At every risk level, to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, Oregonians must continue to wear face coverings, watch their physical distance, wash hands, stay home when sick, and keep social get-togethers and gatherings small.

Learn more:


Malheur County COVID-19 update: 41 deaths and 2,380 cases

The Malheur County Health Department (MCHD) is saddened to announce three new deaths, bringing the total to 41 Malheur County residents who have lost their lives with COVID-19. Our hearts go out to the family and friends who have lost a loved one.

Two deaths were in females in their 90s and one death was in a male in his 70s. Case investigators are diligently working on every case as they have dedicated their efforts to investigating 2,380 cases over the last eight months.

MCHD urges everyone to take precautions seriously to protect the spread of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable who are more likely to die. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States are rising, including Idaho and Oregon communities near us. Idaho announced 96,503 cases today and Oregon announced 68,503 cases today. The CDC reports the Idaho rate of cases at a rate of 78.22 cases per 100,000 people and the Oregon rate at 29.87 cases per 100,000 people. Everyone in Malheur County needs to be especially cautious due to the increasing risks around us.

Especially during the holidays, if you choose to have small gatherings of up to six people between two households, please take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart, get tested, and wash your hands often. The more steps you take, the more you and the ones you love are protected against COVID-19.

11/18 OHA Weekly Report Update

Malheur County COVID-19 outbreaks reported in latest Weekly Report by Oregon Health Authority.

  • Active outbreaks in care facilities, senior living communities and congregate living settings with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19 related deaths
    • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 5 cases, 0 death (last week 4 cases)
  • Resolved outbreaks in care facilities with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19 related death.
    • Brookdale Assisted Living Ontario: 37 cases, 5 deaths
    • Dorian Place Assisted Living: 23 cases, 3 deaths
    • Pioneer Place: 39 cases, 2 deaths
    • Riverside Manor: 3 cases, 1 death
    • Nyssa Gardens: 9 cases, 0 deaths
    • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 6 cases, 1 death
  • Active workplace outbreaks with five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases
    • Snake River Correctional Institution: 542 cases (last week 532 cases)
    • Walmart 7 cases (last week 7 cases)
  • Schools with recent COVID-19 Cases
    • Ontario High School: 0 students, 1 staff/volunteer
    • Annex Charter School: 0 students, 1 staff/volunteer
    • Adrian High School: 1 student, 0 staff/volunteer
    • Vale Elementary School: 2 students, 3 staff/volunteer
    • Jordan Valley High School: 1 student, 0 staff/volunteer
  • Schools with recently resolved COVID-19 Cases
    • Nyssa High School: 1 student, 4 staff/volunteers
    • Nyssa Middle School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers
    • Nyssa Elementary School: 1 student, 3 staff/volunteers
    • Four Rivers Community School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers

Malheur County COVID-19 Cases by Zipcode

  • 97913 (Nyssa): 376 cases, rate of 6803.0 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Nyssa: 356 cases, rate of 6441.1
  • 97914 (Ontario): 1564 cases, rate of 8143.7 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Ontario: 1501 cases, rate of 7815.7
  • 97918 (Vale): 190 cases, rate of 4187.8 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Vale: 177 cases, rate of 3901.3
  • All other Malheur County Zip Codes: 55 cases
    • Zip code data pulled the previous Sunday.
    • Total cases 11/8/20 = 2185
    • Total cases in Nyssa, Ontario, Vale = 2130

If you have questions or comments on outbreaks, reporting, or cases, please call the Malheur County Health Department and ask to speak with a COVID-19 Case Investigator at 541-889-7279.

December 1 COVID-19 Test Site in Ontario

The Malheur County COVID-19 Taskforce, in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, and local community-based organizations, is proud to continue with our series of free drive-through COVID-19 testing events.

Free COVID-19 testing is available at the Malheur County Fairgrounds (795 NW 9th St, Ontario) on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Register first:  https://doineedacovid19test.com/

PRINT AND BRING YOUR VOUCHER WITH YOU ON TEST DAY. Staff will be available to assist anyone without a printed voucher. But those with the ability to register online and print their voucher first should do so to improve the wait time and complete most of the paperwork ahead of time.

This is the 15th drive-up testing site organized by the Taskforce. Each event is improved by what we’ve learned. For December’s event, we have extended hours from noon to 6 p.m. Community Based Organizations are encouraged to volunteer. Call Alliana Ramirez at 208-296-0621 to help!

Share the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/365086311462587/

More on Two-Week Statewide Freeze

From November 18 to December 2, Oregon will be in a statewide Two-Week Freeze to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Oregon. These risk reduction measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that all Oregonians can continue to have access to quality care.

Statewide Two-Week Freeze to Stop Rapid Spread of COVID-19

New measures take effect Wednesday, Nov. 18, in all Oregon counties 

Governor Kate Brown today announced a statewide Two-Week Freeze, implementing new measures to limit gatherings and stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Oregon. The Two-Week Freeze measures will be in effect from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2, statewide. These risk reduction measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that all Oregonians can continue to have access to quality care.

“Since I announced a Two-Week Pause one week ago, we are seeing an alarming spike in both cases and hospitalizations,” said Governor Brown. “The virus is spreading in the community and, every day, it is infecting more and more Oregonians. This situation is dangerous and our hospitals have been sounding the alarms. If we want to give Oregon a fighting chance, we must take further measures to flatten the curve and save lives. I know this is hard, and we are weary. But, we are trying to stop this ferocious virus from quickly spreading far and wide. And in Oregon, we actually can do this.

“Given the data and modeling we are seeing, my public health experts tell me that some counties will need longer to flatten the curve. So I want to be very clear that there are some COVID-19 hotspot counties that will likely need to stay in the Freeze for much longer than two weeks. Multnomah County, for example, will be in this Freeze for at least four weeks. Our actions right now, no matter where in the state you live, are critical.”

The Two-Week Freeze measures include:

  • Limiting social get-togethers (indoors and outdoors) to no more than six people, total, from no more than two households.
  • Limiting faith-based organizations to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors.
  • Limiting eating and drinking establishments to take-out and delivery only.
  • Closing gyms and fitness organizations.
  • Closing indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts.
  • Closing zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools.
  • Limiting grocery stores and pharmacies to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pickup.
  • Limiting retail stores and retail malls (indoor and outdoor) to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pickup.
  • Closing venues (that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events).
  • Requiring all businesses to mandate work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and closing offices to the public.
  • Prohibiting indoor visiting in long-term care facilities (outdoor visitation permitted for supporting quality of life).

The Two-Week Freeze does not apply to or change current health and safety protocols for personal services (such as barber shops, hair salons, and non-medical massage therapy), congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, K-12 schools, K-12 sports currently allowed, current Division 1 and professional athletics exemptions, and higher education — all of which can continue operating under previous guidance issued by the Oregon Health Authority.

For all other permitted activities listed above, the Oregon Health Authority will be issuing sector-specific guidance within the next week. Sectors without specific prohibitions or guidance must operate under this general employer guidance.

Governor Brown’s full remarks are available here. Press release here.

A link to Governor Brown’s press conference is available here.

11/12 OHA Weekly Report Update

Malheur County COVID-19 outbreaks reported in latest Weekly Report by Oregon Health Authority.

  • Active outbreaks in care facilities, senior living communities and congregate living settings with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19 related deaths
    • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 4 cases, 0 death
  • Resolved outbreaks in care facilities with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19 related death.
    • Brookdale Assisted Living Ontario: 37 cases, 5 deaths
    • Dorian Place Assisted Living: 23 cases, 3 deaths
    • Pioneer Place: 39 cases, 2 deaths
    • Riverside Manor: 3 cases, 1 death
    • Nyssa Gardens: 9 cases, 0 deaths
    • Wellsprings Assisted Living: 6 cases, 1 death
  • Active workplace outbreaks with five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases
    • Snake River Correctional Institution: 532 cases (last week 529 cases)
    • Walmart 7 cases (last week 0 cases)
  • Schools with recent COVID-19 Cases
    • Vale Elementary School: 2 students, 3 staff/volunteer
  • Schools with recently resolved COVID-19 Cases
    • Nyssa High School: 1 student, 4 staff/volunteers
    • Nyssa Middle School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers
    • Nyssa Elementary School: 1 student, 3 staff/volunteers
    • Four Rivers Community School: 0 students, 4 staff/volunteers

Malheur County COVID-19 Cases by Zipcode

  • 97913 (Nyssa): 356 cases, rate of 6441.1 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Nyssa: 337 cases, rate of 6097.3
  • 97914 (Ontario): 1501 cases, rate of 7815.7 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Ontario: 1447 cases, rate of 7534.5
  • 97918 (Vale): 177 cases, rate of 3901.3 cases per 100,000 people
    • Last week Vale: 160 cases, rate of 3526.6
  • All other Malheur County Zip Codes: 51 cases
    • Zip code data pulled the previous Sunday.
    • Total cases 11/8/20 = 2085
    • Total cases in Nyssa, Ontario, Vale = 2034

If you have questions or comments on outbreaks, reporting, or cases, please call the Malheur County Health Department and ask to speak with a COVID-19 Case Investigator at 541-889-7279.

Free COVID-19 Testing for All: Tuesday, Nov 17

We need more COVID-19 testing to improve the test positivity rate and active infections. By getting tested, you help us 1) Safely reopen schools for kids, 2) Keep businesses open, and 3) Save lives.

Get tested! Free, easy, no-pain COVID-19 testing is available at the Malheur County Fairgrounds (795 NW 9th St, Ontario, OR 97914) on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No symptoms required. No insurance needed. No residency requirements.

Register HERE.

Please share the Facebook event also.

Stop the spread: Considerations for gatherings

illustration of a person and child wearing masks standing six feet apart from a young woman wearing a mask

Malheur County Health Department has linked many COVID-19 cases recently to social gatherings. Malheur County continues to hold the state’s worst case rate and test positivity and tomorrow will be put on Pause. With the COVID-19 situation getting worse in our county and in surrounding counties in both Idaho and Oregon, we need the public to help stop the spread in the following ways as recommended by the CDC. This guidance is relevant and applicable to every state in the USA.

illustration of people wearing masks and celebrating by getting food from a buffet

Assess the risks

  • In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
  • If you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions.
  • Keep these items on hand when venturing out: a face mask, tissues, and a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Should you go out? Learn what factors to consider before you head out.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you are contacted by contact tracers, follow their instructions to protect you, your family, and your community. Stay home and away from others during quarantine, get tested, and monitor your health.
illustration of a woman wearing a mask arriving for a gathering

Considerations for Small Gatherings of Family and Friends

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk. Organizers and attendees of larger events should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size (number of attendees and other factors) and take steps to reduce the possibility of infection, as outlined in the Considerations for Events and Gatherings.

There are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 at small in-person gatherings. In combination, these factors will create various amounts of risk:

  • Community levels of COVID-19 – High or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the gathering location, as well as in the areas where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering.
  • Exposure during travel – Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.
  • Location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.
  • Duration of the gathering – Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires a 14-day quarantine.
  • Number and crowding of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay 6 feet (2 arm lengths) apart, wear maskswash hands, and follow health rules.
    • During the Pause, Malheur County residents must limit gatherings to only household members or no more than 6 people total. Outside of the Pause, social get-togethers are limited to 10 people. Masks are required.
  • Behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Individuals who did not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearinghandwashing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who consistently practiced these safety measures.
  • Behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Gatherings with more safety measures in place, such as mask wearingsocial distancing, and handwashing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented. Use of alcohol or drugs may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
illustration of friends gathering outdoors wearing masks and six feet apart

The following people should not attend in-person gatherings

People at increased risk for severe illness
If you are an older adult or person with certain medical conditions who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.

illustration of a young family enjoying a virtual meal with an older couple

More CDC recommendations for holiday gatherings here.