BREAKING NEWS: Malheur County put on state ‘watch list’ as Covid cases soar

A county health care worker screens people for symptoms at Ontario’s Covid testing site on July 1. Anyone who lives or works in Malheur County is eligible for screening and testing. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

SALEM – Malheur County has been put on a state “Watch List” by state authorities as the spread of Covid continues. The county reported Thursday that the total cases had reached 160 on Thursday – doubling in less than a week.

“Analysis by the Oregon Health Authority showed alarmingly high per capita rates of case increases and community spread – cases where the infections are not attributable to a specific location or event,” Gov. Kate Brown said in announcing the Watch List designation Friday.

Other counties put on the list include Jefferson, Lake, Lincoln, Morrow, Umatilla, Wasco and Union.

“If the counties do not see a downturn quickly, restrictive measures such as business closures or tighter gathering size limits will ensue,” the governor said.

This is a developing story and the Enterprise will be reporting more details throughout the day.