Your quick guide to Malheur County’s pending action to contain the coronavirus

Covid testing kit at Nyssa’s recent testing site. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

Malheur County saw a record number of new Covid cases on Saturday and on Sunday, the accumulated number of cases punched through 400. That’s four times the number recorded on June 17, when the county had 97 cases.

In response, county health authorities sounding the alarm, calling for new actions to limit the spread. Here’s a quick look at what’s being proposed and who will be affected.

What’s happening?

The Malheur County Court, the board of commissioners, is scheduled to vote on Wednesday, July 15, on new restrictions for the county. Click HERE to see the draft of the resolution.

What is being proposed?

According to the resolution to be considered by the commissioners:

No group of 10 or more are to gather indoors

No group of 25 or more are to gather outdoors

Groups of less than 10 indoors and 25 outdoors must wear face coverings, practice social distancing, stay 6 feet apart

Who does this impact?

Civic, cultural and private social gatherings, such as large backyard weddings, private rodeo clubs and nonprofit events.

How will this affect businesses?

The current state guidelines for businesses remain in place, including the requirement for masks indoors for employees and customers.

What about churches?

There is no new limit on church services and gatherings, but state mandates for social distancing remain in force.

How will this be enforced?

County health officials will use education and warnings to get compliance.

Why is this being done?

The spread of Covid in Malheur County is alarming county and state officials. The county resolution concludes that guidelines that allowed the community to reopen more have “not proven effective.” The number of cases doubled in one week, one in five tests are coming back positive, and no source can be identified for nearly half the cases – all signs of a rapidly spreading virus.

What happens if this doesn’t work?

The proposed resolution warns that “more serious” action by county officials would be next if limiting gatherings doesn’t work. State officials also are ready to put restrictions back on counties where the virus is out of control, including steps such as once again stopping sit-down dining.

How can I let the county commissioners know my views?

You can send an email before Wednesday’s meeting, which is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. The court plans to take up the new restrictions at 9:30 a.m. Contacts for the county court members:

County Judge Dan Joyce: [email protected]

Commissioner Don Hodge: [email protected]

Commissioner Larry Wilson: [email protected]

Want to listen to the meeting?

To join the meeting by phone: Call 1-571-317-3129 Access Code: 299-510-653. To join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone: https://www.gotomeet.me/MCPZ/malheur-county-court


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