Schools get ready for full return; public health leader to meet with school leaders Thursday

Malheur County Health Department Director Sarah Poe, who is pictured in her Ontario office in 2019, says she is very happy about being able to work on a plan with local school leaders to fully return students to classrooms. 

ONTARIO — A statement released by the Malheur County Health Department on Monday gave an update on the status of the county’s infection rates from the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Malheur County Health Department Director Sarah Poe in an email said the county saw “an uptrend in cases of 23% from the week before.”

According to the statement, 66% of cases could not be traced back to a known source of infection, indicating that there is significant community spread taking place among “people who have not been identified as positive.”

Of the 768 cases in the county, 409 of those cases are “considered recovered,” according to the email. To date, 18.3% of all COVID-19 tests performed locally have been positive, which is above the “5% goal.”

More drive-up testing for COVID-19 is slated for the next two Wednesdays.

“We have a resilient community, full of people who care about each other,” Poe said. "Stay informed, stay calm, and do the right thing. I’m here for your questions and ideas for how we can be stronger together.”

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