Malheur County adjusts count of Covid infections involving Nyssa schools

NYSSA – A discrepancy emerged Friday between how local authorities are counting Covid infections reported in Nyssa schools and numbers put out earlier in the week by state authorities.

Sarah Poe, Malheur County Health Department director, said in a press release Friday evening that a total of eight people, including two students, have been infected in the past 28 days in cases connected to the Nyssa School District.

That includes one student and four employees or volunteers at Nyssa High School, one employee at Nyssa Middle School, and one student and one employee or volunteer at Nyssa Elementary School.

“Three of the staff are associated to a workplace outbreak and had no student contact,” Poe said in her release. “The other cases have been investigated and it was identified that they contracted Covid-19 from outside of the school.”

She said those infected are in isolation.

On Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority in its weekly public report on Covid data listed four more cases in the Nyssa school system than the county. The report said the “most recent onset” in those cases was Sept. 30.

In her press release, Poe said there was “confusion” because the state’s numbers didn’t match what county officials were seeing.

She said the state agency explained that “the number of cases isn’t necessarily individual people because it is the number of staff associated per school who test positive. For example, if someone works in more than one school building and tests positive, they will be listed in both school case reports.”

Poe said four employees were in both the high school and middle school, which led to the double-counting under the state processes.

State and county officials were releasing no additional details about the Nyssa school cases.

Darren Johnson, Nyssa School District superintendent, said in an email Thursday that he wouldn’t comment until he understood the numbers. He wouldn’t answer whether district officials had notified the district’s employees and parents.

The schools are operating largely on a remote basis, but are providing limited in-person instruction for a few students at each of the schools.


Virus hits three Nyssa schools, state reports

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