County crosses COVID-19 threshold

This week, Malheur County saw its 5,000th case of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. With fewer than 10,000 eligible county residents fully vaccinated, case numbers will continue to increase. Since March of 2020, 69 Malheur County residents have died with COVID-19, and yesterday 14 Malheur County residents were reported hospitalized with COVID-19.

Free drive-up testing and vaccinations are available throughout October at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 795 NW 9th St., in Ontario Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Third doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are available for people who are immunocompromised, and booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be available to people whose last dose of the Pfizer vaccine was six months ago or more, and who meet the following criteria:

Those who should receive a booster dose of Pfizer:

  • Adults age 65 and older and those living in long-term care facilities
  • Adults age 50-64 with underlying medical conditions or who are at increased risk of social inequities

Those who may receive a booster dose:

Adults age 18 through 64 years:

  • with underlying medical conditions, or
  • who are at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 exposure or transmission because of where they work or live.

Proof of qualification is not needed.

Public Health Warning: People should stop vaping immediately

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Second vaping-related death in state confirmed; people who vape are at risk, officials say

The Oregon Health Authority is issuing a public health warning urging people to immediately stop using all vaping products. On September 26, 2019, the agency confirmed a second vaping-related death in the state.

This is the second death among the five previously reported cases. Oregon’s first fatality was announced on Sept. 3. All five cases are part of a national outbreak of severe lung injury linked to vaping and e-cigarette use.

“People should stop vaping immediately,” said Dean Sidelinger, MD, state health officer. “If you vape, whether it’s cannabis, nicotine or other products, please quit. These are addictive substances, and we encourage people to take advantage of free resources to help them quit.”

He added: “If you haven’t started vaping, don’t start.”

OHA officials say the most recent death was an individual who had been hospitalized with respiratory symptoms after vaping cannabis products. Nationally, there have been more than 800 cases, primarily among youths and young adults, in 46 states and one U.S. territory. A total of 12 additional deaths, including Oregon’s first fatality, have been reported in 10 states.

Those who have fallen ill in Oregon have been hospitalized after experiencing worsening symptoms, including shortness of breath, cough or chest pain. CDC and the FDA have not identified a cause, but all cases have reported e-cigarette use or vaping.

OHA investigators and local public health authorities continue to urge clinicians to be on alert for signs of severe respiratory illness among patients and report any cases.

Before the new illness reports, OHA was already concerned about the health risks of vaping products. A recent report by the agency details the health risks for the products including nicotine addiction, exposure to toxic chemicals known to cause cancer and increases in blood pressure.

Individuals who have recently vaped and are having difficulty breathing should seek medical attention immediately.

If you or someone you know smokes or vapes, we urge you to quit now. Free help is available from the following resources:

Switching to cigarettes or other combustible products is not a safer option.

Public Health Warning: Stop using vaping products

Public health officials have now linked a second Oregon death to the use of vaping products. The Oregon Health Authority urges Oregonians to stop using all vaping products until federal and state officials have determined the cause of serious lung injuries and deaths linked to the use of both cannabis and nicotine vaping products. No vaping products should be considered safe. Until health experts can identify why people who have used these products have become seriously ill, and in some cases died, no vaping product should be used. State health officials will continue to work closely with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to determine the cause of deaths and illnesses in Oregon and across the nation

Oregon Health Authority Media contact: Jonathan Modie, 971-246-9139, phd.communications@dhsoha.state.or.us