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Malheur County heads into holiday weekend with cases surging and state authorities stepping in

Amber Harriman of Fruitland, Idaho, has her nose swabbed by county health care worker MaryLue Galligar at the Ontario Covid testing site on July 1. Harriman works in Ontario. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

ONTARIO – Malheur County will head into the holiday weekend under the eye of state officials worried that Covid infections are rapidly spinning out of control in the community.

Gov. Kate Brown on Friday announced she was putting Malheur County and seven others – Jefferson, Lake, Lincoln, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wasco – on a state watch list because of a high number of recent Covid cases.

“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,” Brown said in announcing the watch list designation.

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