Where can my family get tested?

Were you or a family member exposed to a COVID-19-positive patient? Do you have a fever, runny nose and cough and think it might be more than seasonal allergies? Free tests are offered every weekday by healthcare partners in the Treasure Valley. For free drive-up or walk-up rapid testing, go to one of these sites:

Monday, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Valley Family Health Care Dental Clinic, 2327 SW 4th Ave., Ontario

Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Malheur County Fairgrounds, 795 NW 9th St., Ontario

Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Valley Family Health Care Dental Clinic, 2327 SW 4th Ave., Ontario

Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Mobile Access Clinic next to Jack In The Box, 1115 N. Whitley Dr., Fruitland

Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Mobile Access Clinic next to Ashley Furniture, 1418 West Park Plaza #2, Ontario

These sites will be available for the next four weeks, at a minimum, and everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity for testing.

BinaxNow test card

Gift cards available with vaccination

People who come to the Malheur County Incident Response System’s testing and vaccination clinic today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and receive a vaccine will be able to choose from a variety of $25 gift cards from local businesses, including coffee shops, restaurants and grocery stores.

At last week’s event, 54 people received vaccinations, so there will be plenty of gift cards for everyone.

27,924 Gift Card Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

Testing and vaccine clinic Tuesday at fairground

A COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic will be held Tuesday, Sept. 14, and every Tuesday through the end of October, at the Malheur County Fairground, 795 NW 9th St., in Ontario. The clinic is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Third doses will be available at the Fairground on Tuesdays to those who meet the qualifications listed below:

Questions and Answers About COVID-19 Vaccines - Vaccinate Your Family

People who want a negative test in order to travel can request that a letter be emailed to them, by adding that information to their consent form.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and, while breakthrough infections are possible, people who have been vaccinated are far less likely to become seriously ill or die from the virus.

More than 40 local health care providers have signed a letter about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, and encouraging residents to talk with them about the vaccine. Medical providers stand ready to answer any questions you might have.

What is the difference between a third dose and a booster dose?

A third dose is specifically for individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and may not have built up an adequate protective immune response with their first series of vaccinations. Currently, the only authorized third doses are for the Moderna and Pfizer Comirnaty vaccines.

Graphic repeats information in post and features an illustration of a woman wearing a mask with bandaid on right shoulder and watch on right wrist.
If you are moderately to severely immunocompromised, you qualify for a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Reach out to your health care provider or pharmacy, or come to one of Malheur County’s drive up testing and vaccination events on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 795 NW 9th St. in Ontario.

The recommendation is for immunocompromised individuals to receive a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine at least 28 days after receiving the second dose in the series (for individuals 18 years and older for Moderna and 12 years and older for Pfizer Comirnaty).

At this time, the CDC does not have enough data to suggest an additional dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would produce an enhanced immune response in an immunocompromised person.

A booster dose is for people whose immunity may be fading after they complete their first vaccination series. There is currently no COVID-19 vaccine authorized as a booster. 

Second Presumptive Human Case of West Nile Virus in Malheur County

The Malheur County Health Department has announced that an adult living in the Nyssa area has tested positive for West  Nile virus – the second presumptive human case of the virus in Malheur County this year.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes which have been infected by feeding on birds which have the virus. In rare instances, the virus may be spread from person to person through organ donation, blood transfusion, breastfeeding, or from pregnant mother to fetus.

The disease affects the nervous system,  and up to 80 percent of people who are infected will not display any signs of illness at all. Those who have underlying health conditions, however, could become seriously ill.

West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999, and the number of Oregonians infected with the virus fluctuates every season.

While most people do not develop symptoms from this virus, some people who develop illness may experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches; occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands may be noticed. These symptoms may last a few days or as long as several weeks. Those who are older than 50 or have immunocompromised conditions can become seriously ill. Seek medical attention and testing if you develop symptoms compatible with West Nile virus infection.  

People who are concerned about mosquitoes should cover up exposed skin and use an EPA-registered insect repellent according to package directions. Residents are also urged to monitor their own yards and gardens for areas of high mosquito activity, especially standing water that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Small amounts of water in a discarded can or container will support dozens of mosquitoes, as will clogged rain gutters or drain pipes.

For additional information on West Nile virus, visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/diseasesconditions/diseasesaz/westnilevirus/Pages/wnile.aspx

Returning to campus? Tips on how to keep safe in shared living spaces

Some colleges and universities have already begun classes, and some have yet to begin. Treasure Valley Community College opens for fall term Sept. 27, and the Residence Hall opens Sept. 23. If you are a college student returning to campus, you may be looking for tips on how to keep safe in shared living spaces such as dorms or student apartments.

Your school should already have guidance to help ensure a learning environment that is low risk for spreading COVID-19. Following that guidance and the tips below can help you to stay safe:  

  • Make a plan to get vaccinated if you have not already. Vaccination against COVID-19 is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. 
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from people you do not live with. Avoid crowded indoor spaces like busy fitness centers or gathering areas.
  • Wear a mask or face covering in shared spaces with people that you do not live with or outdoors when you’re unable to stay 6 feet apart from them.  
  • Keep visitors to a minimum, just like you would at home. Visiting with others outdoors is lower risk than indoors.  
  • Don’t eat or drink from the same glass or dish as others.  
  • Don’t place personal items like toothbrushes on shared surfaces like sinks or counters. Put these items in a tote that you can carry to avoid touching the surface. 
  • Practice good hand hygiene. 
  • Stay home and isolate if you are sick.  

Attending college can mean being around many people. This can increase your risk of other vaccine-preventable diseases as well. Check with your health care provider to make sure you are up-to-date on all your vaccines.  

Deadline fast approaching for healthcare and school workers to be vaccinated

Oregon Administrative Rule 333-019-1010 requires healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated before Oct. 18, 2021, and OAR 333-019-0130 requires school employees and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by the same date. “Fully vaccinated” means having received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or a single dose of Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and waiting two weeks for the vaccine to take effect. For the FDA-approved Pfizer/N-Biotech vaccine, the first dose would need to be administered on or before Monday, Sept. 13 in order to reach “full vaccination” status by Oct. 18. For the Moderna vaccine, the first dose would have needed to be received by Monday, Sept. 6, in order to meet the Oct. 18 deadline. The single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine would need to be administered on or before Oct. 4 to reach “full vaccination” status by the Oct. 18 deadline.

Free drive-up testing and vaccination clinics are held every Tuesday through October at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 795 NW 9th St., Ontario, Ore., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Local physician offices and pharmacies also offer the free vaccine. Contact your provider to schedule an appointment.

COVID-19 testing and vaccination event continues

Throughout September and October, the Malheur County Incident Command System will be hosting COVID-19 testing and vaccination events every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 795 NW 9th St. in Ontario. Two hundred seventy eight people were tested at the Aug. 31 event, with 30 Malheur County residents testing positive. For the week ending Aug. 22, Malheur County’s test positivity rate was 18.6 percent, which shows significant community spread. In order to reduce the test positivity rate, more people need to get tested.

First Presumptive Human Case of West Nile Virus in Malheur County

The Malheur County Health Department has announced that an adult living in the Ontario area has tested positive for West  Nile virus – the first presumptive human case of the virus in Malheur County this year.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes which have been infected by feeding on birds which have the virus. In rare instances, the virus may be spread from person to person through organ donation, blood transfusion, breastfeeding, or from pregnant mother to fetus.

The disease affects the nervous system,  and up to 80 percent of people who are infected will not display any signs of illness at all. Those who have underlying health conditions, however, could become seriously ill.

West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999, and the number of Oregonians infected with the virus fluctuates every season.

While most people do not develop symptoms from this virus, some people who develop illness may experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches; occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands may be noticed. These symptoms may last a few days or as long as several weeks. Those who are older than 50 or have immunocompromised conditions can become seriously ill. Seek medical attention and testing if you develop symptoms compatible with West Nile virus infection.  

People who are concerned about mosquitoes should cover up exposed skin and use an EPA-registered insect repellent according to package directions. Residents are also urged to monitor their own yards and gardens for areas of high mosquito activity, especially standing water that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Small amounts of water in a discarded can or container will support dozens of mosquitoes, as will clogged rain gutters or drain pipes.

For additional information on West Nile virus, visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/diseasesconditions/diseasesaz/westnilevirus/Pages/wnile.aspx

Local Health Providers Pen Letter to Community

Letter to our community who we care for and genuinely care about.

See the source image

Your local healthcare team cares immensely about the health and safety of our patients.  We believe it is important to show where we stand on the COVID-19 crisis in our community.  It is difficult for anyone to wade through the vast amount of data on COVID-19 and to know which sources to believe.  As your trusted experts, we wholeheartedly support the following:

  • We welcome an open and honest discussion about the risks & benefits of the COVID 19 vaccines. 
  • In general, the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks of acquiring and spreading SARs CoV-2. 
  • Immunization protects you from severe illness, hospitalization, and death. 
  • Getting vaccinated is the best way to reduce the chances of spread to others.

Our ethical obligation is to provide the best care based on scientific data from reliable sources.  We do not take our responsibility lightly and have committed our careers to benefit the health and wellbeing of others. 

We can significantly reduce the impact of this pandemic if we work together to learn the facts and act accordingly.  We sincerely appreciate the bravery and courage of our neighbors, friends, and community who have practiced social distancing, masking, and obtained their COVID-19 vaccine.  With your help, we can avoid further harm to our loved ones. 

Talk to your health care provider and discuss what is right for you.

  • Brad Barlow, MD
  • Sage Benintendi Stringer, MPAS, PA-C
  • Christina Benson, PA-C
  • Matea Berria, MSPAS, PA-C
  • Matthew Berria, PhD, PA-C
  • David Brauer, MD
  • Paola D’Aleman, MD
  • Michelle DeVoe, DO, FAAP
  • Sandra Dunbrasky, MD, FAAP
  • Patricia Engel, MD
  • Leslie Filler, DNP, APRN, FNP-C
  • Stephanie Geddes, PharmD
  • Aaron Gopp, MSN, CRNA
  • Sean Hackett, MS, PA-C
  • Brook Hally, PharmD
  • Jerrimi Helmick, FNP
  • Markus Hess, PharmD
  • Nicole Heywood, PA-C
  • Mary James, MPAS, PA-C
  • Trenton Jenks, PharmD, BCGP
  • Raquel Johnson, NP
  • Daniel Jones, DO
  • Brian Kitamura, MD
  • Judd Knudsen, RPh
  • Alex Landevarde, PharmD
  • Sarah Laiosa, DO
  • Chelsie Lewis, FNP
  • Kailey Meskill, MPAS, PA-C
  • Daisy Miller, DO
  • Kayla Nagy, MPAS, PA-C
  • Judy Norris, MSN, FNP-BC
  • James Roth, MD
  • Emily Russell, PA-C
  • Eric Rysenga, MD
  • Julie Rysenga, MD
  • Amanda Silue, PA-C
  • Frank Spokas, MD
  • MariSue Susman, PNP
  • Barbara Tesnohlidek, MD
  • Tony Tesnohlidek, MD
  • Jennifer Tolman, PharmD
  • Michael Twomey, MD