County Submits Updated Reopening Plan to Governor

PRESS RELEASE

Baker County submitted an updated reopening plan to Governor Brown today that incorporated new guidance the Governor’s office released during a press conference held at 11:00 AM this morning. County officials do not yet know when the Governor will make a final decision on the plan, but are optimistic that Baker County is being considered to begin the first phase of reopening next week. The updated plan is available on the Baker County COVID-19 website, www.bakercountycovid19.com.

Once the plan is approved by the Governor, some sectors of businesses and other establishments that are currently closed will be allowed to reopen in phases, with precautions in place to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus. Baker County and Baker City staff will meet with businesses by sector next week to discuss the standards for reopening, and will remain available to assist businesses through the reopening process. Business owners are encouraged to join the email list by filling out the business survey at www.bakercountycovid19.com. Guidance for each sector will be updated on the website as it comes available.

First Coronavirus Case Reported in Baker County

PRESS RELEASE

First Coronavirus Case Reported in Baker County

The Baker County Health Department has been notified by Oregon Health Authority that Baker County has a confirmed case of COVID-19. This is the first confirmed case in Baker County. The individual has been directed to isolate from others for the duration of their illness, which is until they are symptom free for 72 hours (3 days).

The Baker County Health Department is performing contact tracing to identify and isolate anyone who may have come in close contact with this individual in the last 14 days. Nursing Supervisor, Alicia Hills, will be leading the investigation effort with public health staff and the support of the Oregon Health Authority. If you have been identified as a close contact with this individual you will be contacted as part of the investigation. Please support the contact tracing work by having voicemail available in the event you cannot answer. If you have had changes in your address or phone number, update the information with all your medical providers including your doctors, dentists, the health department or anywhere else you receive care.

Health privacy laws prohibit releasing identifying information about the individual who has tested positive or their contacts.

Nancy Staten, Baker County Health Department Director, says, “Our Health Department, County and Community Partners have been preparing for this day since we learned of this virus spreading its way across the world. Now that it is here, we need to not panic, but pull together as a community. Just because we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Baker County doesn’t change the everyday precautions that are already in place. Please understand this is a serious illness and take the appropriate measures to keep ourselves, our families and our community safe.”

Residents are urged to take precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus to those most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19. The high-risk populations include adults age 60 and over, those suffering from a serious health condition including lung/heart issues, diabetes, and kidney disease, or anyone with a suppressed immune system. Those vulnerable to complications are advised to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay home as much as possible and avoid gatherings.

To protect those most at risk, follow these basic steps:
● Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
● Cover your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze.
● Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
● If you feel ill, stay home.
● Practice Social Distancing by staying home when possible, avoiding crowded areas and staying 6 feet away from others.
● Wear a cloth face covering when going out into a public setting.

Learn more on the Oregon Health Authority website: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/pages/index.aspx

Snake River Area Overnight Closure Ends

Press Release

The Snake River area overnight closure, which went into effect on April 3, 2020, will end on Thursday, April 30.

County officials had received numerous complaints about visitors from outside the area disregarding existing recreation area closures and social distancing standards at sites along the river. These complaints prompted the closure in early April, which included the prohibition of camping and overnight use in public areas along the Snake River corridor.

Officials emphasize that social distancing, even outdoors, is an important measure to protect our communities from the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Individuals are encouraged to maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and anyone who does not reside in their immediate household and to observe any closures posted on properties open to the public. Additionally, visitors are reminded to properly dispose of all waste.

Click here for links to information about restrictions or closures for the Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Power, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon Department of Forestry.