Malheur County sees significant increase in COVID-19 cases

Posted at 3:41 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 17:41:28-05

MALHEUR COUNTY, Ore. — Malheur County is seeing a rise in the number of people infected with COVID-19 in outbreaks across the county. A news release from the Malheur County Health Department says the outbreaks are happening most significantly in Vale and Ontario.

“We’re very concerned with this trend of outbreaks, especially in the 97918 ZIP code, including Vale and Willowcreek areas," said Sarah Poe, Malheur County Health Department director. "With a number of new infections linked in the last three weeks, there is the potential for a significant increase in cases when people don't follow precautions. This hurts schools and businesses and risks the health and safety of the elderly and most vulnerable. We need to act swiftly as a community to stop the spread."

The release says there are currently at least three outbreaks in Vale, including Vale High and Elementary schools and at the Malheur County Jail. Ontario outbreaks include Fry Foods, BakerMurakami Produce and Snake River Correctional Institution.

The Oregon Health Authority details outbreaks by county in its weekly report, most recently published on January 27. The above outbreaks are included in the current report, but the numbers and dates are no longer accurate in some cases, according to the release.

“We know, through our case investigations, that these outbreaks are growing,” Poe said. “People who have even mild symptoms, please be tested and isolate immediately. If you believe you have had potential exposure, get tested and quarantine.”

The Malheur County Health Department says it is important for those who test positive for COVID-19 and are contacted by a case investigator to share accurate information about who they have been in contact with. For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and if you believe you have been exposed, click here.

For testing availability in Malheur County, click here.