Health Department Director Nancy Staten is sounding the alarm. “We’re seeing an increase in cases, and we need to get a handle on it or we’re going to be in bad shape as a county. We know that when cases spike, many people are exposed to people who are contagious, and it takes a long time for infections to go down.” The Health Department had 18 COVID-19 cases reported since Monday.
The volume of cases alone is enough to cause concern, but Staten also reported that those coming down with the virus are experiencing increasingly severe symptoms compared to those sickened earlier in the year. “We don’t have the sequencing data to tell us if this is a newer variant or not, but we do know that the Delta variant is present in Eastern Oregon, and what we have discovered through investigations is people are having more severe symptoms causing them to seek medical care. Regardless of the reason, we find the symptoms people are experiencing right now very concerning.” The risk still remains the greatest for those with underlying health conditions, and the Health Department emphasizes the importance of taking care of each other, especially those at the highest risk.
If you are feeling ill, remember to stay home. The Health Department encourages people experiencing symptoms to get tested for COVID-19. Staten says, “The prevention tools we’ve used throughout the pandemic, such as washing your hands frequently and gathering outdoors with appropriate distance from others, are key for prevention. The strongest tool we have available is vaccination, and anyone 12 or older is eligible. Appointments can be made by calling the Health Department at 541-523-8211 or working with any of our other local partners like your doctor’s office or pharmacy. If you’d like more information about the vaccine, call your health care provider to get the information you need. If you receive the vaccine, it’s confidential. We respect whatever decision you make about getting vaccinated, and we want to be sure you have the best information available to make your decision.”