Be aware of rise in COVID-19 cases and increasingly severe symptoms

PRESS RELEASE

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.” 

Seventeenth COVID-19 related death reported

PRESS RELEASE

The Oregon Health Authority reported the seventeenth COVID-19 related death of a Baker County resident. The report is the 2,820th COVID-19 death for Oregon, an 83 year-old woman from Baker County who tested positive on March 17 and died on March 25 at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale, PA. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.”

According to the Oregon Health Authority, “The counting of deaths from death certificates may take time to process because they are determined by physicians and then sent to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further review before the cause of death is ultimately determined. Out of state deaths in particular…may lag because of the review process. Once this information is confirmed, the information is reported back with a final cause of death to states.”

Commissioner Mark Bennett said, “Her passing was reported to us almost four months after the fact, and our condolences are certainly belated, but I want to take this opportunity to let their loved ones know I’m deeply sorry and they are in our thoughts.” 

To protect the privacy and well-being of the family, and to maintain compliance with health information privacy regulations, no further information about the individual will be released by the County. We encourage everyone to be respectful as a family in our community grieves.

Sixteenth COVID-19 related death reported

PRESS RELEASE

The Oregon Health Authority reported the sixteenth COVID-19 related death of a Baker County resident, saying “Oregon’s 2,805th death is a 59-year-old man from Baker County who tested positive on July 7 and died on July 13 at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.”

Commissioner Mark Bennett said, “I send my condolences to his family and friends, I’m so sorry for their loss. We clearly still need to be aware that the virus continues to be active in our community, and variants are spreading that are even more contagious. Unfortunately, this isn’t over. I encourage everyone to be mindful of protecting themselves and others, especially those with underlying health risks.” 

To protect the privacy and well-being of the family, and to maintain compliance with health information privacy regulations, no further information about the individual will be released by the County. We encourage everyone to be respectful as a family in our community grieves.