MALHEUR COUNTY — Malheur County Health Department reported on Friday afternoon that another Malheur County resident diagnosed with COVID-19 has died. This person was a man in his 50s, who reportedly died in the hospital.

“We have no additional information to share at this time,” reads the news release.

Oregon Health Authority’s most recent update on COVID-19 breakthrough cases, released Friday, found that 75.6% of the 10,411 reported COVID-19 cases between Sept. 26 through Oct. 2, occurred in people who were unvaccinated.

Cases of COVID are far more common in unvaccinated people. The report shows that the rate of COVID-19 in unvaccinated people is currently approximately four times higher than in vaccinated people.

“The best tool we have to end this pandemic is vaccination,” said Angie Sillonis, Malheur County Health Department public information officer.

It is worth noting that the Centers for Disease Control states that the virus can be spread by vaccinated and unvaccinated people. As such, people are urged to continue taking precautions. This includes wearing a mask indoors or outdoors if 6 feet of distancing cannot be maintained; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and staying home if you feel ill. After someone contracts COVID-19, if they develop symptoms, they will be flu-like and they will usually onset within 14 days.

According to the health department, the average age of the breakthrough cases between Sept. 26 through Oct. 2 was 46. There were 91 breakthrough cases in people ages 12 to 17.

People needing a COVID-19 test are urged not to go to the emergency room for testing. Drive up testing clinics are available nearly every weekday in Ontario, as well as at local clinics and doctor’s offices. For a schedule of drive-up testing events, visit the events calendar tab at https://malheurhealth.org.

Free drive-up testing and vaccination is taking place every Tuesday in October from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with all three vaccines available, and using the BinaxNow rapid tests. Additionally, every Thursday in October there will be testing and vaccination events, featuring all three vaccines and PCR tests, which take longer for results to arrive. Those will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All of these are at the Malheur County fairgrounds, 795 N.W. Ninth St., in Ontario. They are co-hosted by the Malheur County ICS team and the Oregon Health Authority.

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