News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 10, 2021 Columbia County Seeks Volunteers for Public Health Events


COLUMBIA COUNTY, Oregon – Have you been wondering how you can lend a helping hand at testing or vaccination events in Columbia County? Now is the time! The Columbia County Public Health department is now accepting volunteer applications for COVID-19 testing and vaccination assistance.

We are looking for reliable and enthusiastic individuals who would like to volunteer for clinical and non-clinical positions. We are building volunteer teams to support immunization and testing events throughout the upcoming months. Our teams need greeters, vaccinators, registration and check-in assistants, clinical and non-clinical monitors, and supply runners.

How do you volunteer? Your first step towards volunteering for this team is to go online (https://tinyurl.com/ftrpmbxy) and fill out the Columbia County Public Health Volunteer Interest Form. Once your completed form is received, the department’s Volunteer Coordinator will review your application and send a follow-up email with instructions for completing the county Volunteer Form, Volunteer Agreement, and the Disclosure and Authorization for a background check. After the Public Health department approves your application, you will receive onboarding information from the Volunteer Coordinator, including instructions for the required HIPAA and Information Security trainings. Upon completion of these steps, the Volunteer Coordinator will work with you to schedule shifts, assign positions, provide position descriptions, and answer questions as they come up. 

If you have any questions regarding volunteering to help at these events, please call the Public Health Volunteer Coordinator at 503-397-7247.


Columbia County Public Health Recommends Indoor Masks for All Amid COVID Surge


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

August 6, 2021 

 

Columbia County Public Health Recommends Indoor Masks for All Amid COVID Surge

 

ST. HELENS, Oregon - Due to the recent dramatic increase in cases of COVID-19 in our community, and following recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Oregon Health Authority guidelines, Columbia County Public Health (CCPH) recommends masking indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 

 

The risk for COVID-19 exposure and infection is substantial and 45% of eligible residents are still unvaccinated. “The delta variant has caused a sharp increase in case rates across the state, including in Columbia County,” said Michael Paul, CCPH Director. “We are recommending masking for all residents in indoor public places to slow the spread while we continue efforts to get more residents vaccinated.” New statewide mask recommendations can be found here: https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2288K_R.pdf 

 

Second, CCPH wants residents to know the surge of cases is severely slowing down the local contact tracing process. CCPH continues to complete COVID-19 investigations, but residents should be aware that the high number of cases makes it very difficult to identify every case and to notify every contact about their exposure to another individual who was infected. CCPH recommends residents review the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested at the onset of symptoms. Wraparound services are provided by Columbia Health Services and residents can find additional information in the after-testing guide:

https://multco-web7-psh-files-usw2.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/AfterTestingGuide.pdf 

 

Last, CCPH also recommends unvaccinated residents talk to a health care provider about the COVID-19 vaccine. With the emergence of the more transmissible Delta variant, there is a renewed urgency to get all eligible residents vaccinated as quickly as possible. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, free and provides excellent protection from severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death. Additional statewide information concerning COVID-19-related demographics and hospital information about positive cases can be found on the Oregon Health Authority's website at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19

 

General questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 2-1-1. Questions about your specific medical needs should be directed to a health care provider. If you cannot find the information you need via the websites and number provided here, call Columbia County Public Health at 503-397-7247. 

 

Resources:

Columbia County Public Health

https://www.columbiacountyor.gov/departments/PublicHealth/CoronavirusDiseaseCOVID19 

 

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Information

https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19 

 

Columbia Health Services

https://www.columbia-health.org/ 

 

You can apply for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or Healthy Kids at any time of the year. There is no “Open enrollment” period for OHP. Visit OregonHealthCare.gov to learn more.


Bat Rabies Detected in Columbia County


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

August 6, 2021 

Bat Rabies Detected in Columbia County 

 

ST. HELENS, Oregon - Columbia County Public Health and Oregon Health Officials are reporting that a bat found in Clatskanie, Oregon tested positive for rabies, according to Oregon State University, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

   

A local resident found the bat during the day on Wednesday, August 4. So far, in 2021, 8 other bats have tested positive for rabies. Approximately 8% of the bats found every year in Oregon test positive for rabies.  

People can take two precautions to protect themselves and their pets from bats and rabies," said Dr. Emilio DeBess, from the Oregon Health Authority. "Never handle bats, and make sure your cats and dogs are up to date on their rabies vaccines."  


“Unfortunately, bats often carry rabies,” said DeBess. "If you find a bat during the daylight hours, it is probably not healthy and should be avoided.” 


Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that attacks an infected animal’s nervous system. The rabies strain found in the foxes tested is from bats. Other strains of rabies found in the U.S. (skunk, fox, and raccoon) are not found in Oregon. Rabies symptoms in wildlife, particularly foxes and raccoons, include lethargy, walking in circles, loss of muscular coordination, convulsions, irritability or aggressiveness, disorientation, excessive drooling of saliva, and showing no fear of humans.   


While bats play a valuable role in nature, people should stay away from bats and not handle them. Sick bats may be seen flopping around on the ground or otherwise acting unusual. If you find a sick bat or other sick wildlife on your property, take children and pets indoors and do not handle the bats without protection. Use a disposable container with a lid to scoop the animal into the containers and dispose of it in the trash. If a bat has had contact with a human or an animal, call your local health department for guidance.  


Typically, animals acquire rabies by eating or coming in contact with a rabid bat. Very few bats in Oregon have rabies and rabies in other wildlife is even rarer. However, if you know your pet has encountered a bat or been bitten by a wild animal, contact your veterinarian immediately.  


We recommend you: 

  • Vaccinate your pets (dogs and cats) against rabies  
  • Watch wildlife from a distance. Don’t approach or attempt to handle wild animals.  
  • Do not feed wild animals.  
  • Keep garbage in secure containers and away from wildlife.  
  • Feed pets indoors.  
  • Seal openings in attics, basements, porches, sheds, barns, and screen chimneys that might provide access to bats and other wildlife.

Columbia County suffers first COVID-19 death


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 13, 2020

Columbia County suffers first COVID-19 death

(Columbia County, Oregon) - Columbia County has suffered its first loss to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Oregon Health Authority statistics reported at 12:01 a.m. today.

The 55-year-old Columbia County man was Oregon's 381st COVID-19 death. He tested positive on August 7 and died on August 9 at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center. The presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

“We send our condolences to the family and want to assure the community that we in Columbia County are committed to keeping our citizens safe from COVID-19 as we continue to move forward through this pandemic,” Chair Columbia County Commissioner Alex Tardif said.

Columbia County Public Health Director, Michael Paul, said the death should remind residents of the reality that the virus is present and spreading in the community. Furthermore, Paul said, the most recent indicators released by the state show Columbia County had a 60% increase in new cases during the week of August 2 - August 8, and half of those cases were not traced to a known source.

"Statewide data indicates large outbreaks have contributed a diminishing proportion of recent cases, and sporadic cases - or those not linked to another case - have increased. An increase in sporadic cases is consistent with community spread," Paul said. "Although recent data and state announcements indicate there is a leveling of transmission statewide, the virus continues to spread locally. It continues to cause loss of life in Oregon. We urge residents to continue to protect the people in their household, as well as their fellow community members: wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, and wash your hands frequently."

Still, Columbia’s case rate remains below the statewide rate and case rate across the metro area.

“Our lower case rate is likely due to a lower population density and less travel into Columbia County. We have also been able to trace contacts effectively, and we urge people to continue to answer the phone when we call,” Paul said. “The large majority of residents we have contacted want to do the right thing. People have cooperated, which allows us to identify additional locations and worksites where people may have been exposed, and then to notify individuals and request that they quarantine.”

Additional statewide information concerning COVID-19-related demographics and information about positive cases can be found on the Oregon Health Authority's website at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.

 

General questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 2-1-1. Questions about your specific medical needs should be directed to your health care provider. If you cannot find the information you need via the website and number provided here, call Columbia County Public Health at 503-397-7247. 


Columbia County confirms first new case of COVID-19 since May 13


St. Helens, OR - Columbia County Public Health recently confirmed the first new positive case of COVID-19 since the county was approved for Phase I of reopening on May 13, 2020.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Columbia County Residents


This information will be updated as it becomes available.

For the most current information and recommendations please visit the Oregon Health Authority Website.

For residents looking for additional information on how to keep yourself and your family healthy during this time, please visit the Columbia County Public Health Department Website.

Feeling a little under the weather and not sure if it’s a cold, allergies, the flu or COVID19? Before calling 911 or going to the hospital, check out this handy online Coronavirus Checker, which can help you determine how sick you are and how to get help: c19oregon.com

Have questions about Coronavirus??

Dial 2-1-1, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week. or visit 211Info.org/corona-virus.

For travel guidance please visit CDC's Website for Travelers' Health.

Resources for Economic Relief


For Immediate Release: Keep Columbia County Open Messaging Campaign Launched for Safely Reopening


Date: 05/22/2020

Contact person:        Suzanne Beaupre, Health Promotion Specialist

                                    suzanne.beaupre@columbiacountyor.gov

                                   

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Keep Columbia County Open

Messaging Campaign Launched for Safely Reopening

Columbia County, Ore. – Today Columbia County Public Health and the Joint Information Center announce the “Keep Columbia County Open” campaign.  With the approval of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, Governor Brown announced Columbia County may enter Phase 1 of reopening. Read the guidelines for reopening here: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19 .

All of us play an important part as Columbia County begins to slowly reopen. Here is what all members of the community can do to keep things open as we move forward:

  • Physical Distance: Be at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with.  Stay home if you are sick. Avoid non-essential trips. Stay close to home and avoid trips outside your community
  • Protect Others: Cover your cough and sneeze with elbow or tissue.  Avoid touching your face. Use face coverings in public.
  • Keep Clean: Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Frequently clean your work and living space, especially frequently-touched places like doors and handles.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until there is a cure or a preventative treatment is to follow these guidelines.

Together, We Can Keep Columbia County Open.

For updates on reopening, please go to

To reach Columbia County Public Information Officers for COVID-19 response:

Suzanne Beaupre: 503-396-0007 - suzanne.beaupre@columbiacountyor.gov
Della Graham: 503-396-9159 -
della.graham@columbiacountyor.gov

Julie Thompson: 971-757-4051 - public.info@columbiacountyor.gov

Columbia County Call Center: 503-397-7247 – health@columbiacountyOR.gov

 

###


PRESS RELEASE: Columbia County Public Health announces tenth case of novel coronavirus; adds local data dashboard to website


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 9, 2020

Columbia County Public Health announces tenth case of novel coronavirus; adds local data dashboard to website

Saint Helens, OR—Columbia County Public Health reported two new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the local total to ten cases. When a positive test result occurs, local public health officials conduct contact tracing, which is a way to identify and notify others who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive. Columbia County Public Health is currently identifying close contacts of the new cases and will notify those individuals, as well as provide education and next steps for those contacts.

Columbia County is committed to providing accurate, reliable reports to the public. In order to keep the public informed about new cases in the county, the Public Health Department added a local data dashboard on its COVID-2019 webpage. https://www.columbiacountyor.gov/CoronavirusDisease2019COVID19. The county will update the dashboard daily by 1 P.M. The data may be slightly different from data located on the Oregon Health Authority website because the pages are updated at different times of the day.

The data dashboard lists the number of lab-confirmed cases, deaths, negative tests, and the number of individuals in the county who have recovered. Columbia County Public Health will not release the names of any individuals who have tested positive or further identifying information, unless more details are necessary to protect the public. Statewide demographic and hospital information about tested positive cases is available on the Oregon Health Authority webpage at: https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.

The Public Health Department cautions that the data only includes the number of cases who reside within the borders of Columbia County. Nearby counties where residents frequently travel for services and healthcare have reported a much higher number of lab-confirmed cases. Many cases in the state are "individual community cases," meaning they are not connected to another known ill individual. Please remember that this virus does not discriminate or recognize county borders. Anyone can get sick.

The County urges residents to continue to follow Gov. Kate Brown’s "Stay Home, Save Lives" physical distancing order, and consider the following steps to slow the spread of the virus in our community and protect our at risk residents:

  • Wash your hands often with warm running water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer product.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes using your sleeve or a tissue, not your bare hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home and away from the rest of your household if you’re feeling sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched surfaces at home and at work, including your mobile devices.
  • Pregnant women should visit the CDC’s website for the most current guidance.
  • Breastfeeding women should visit Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine for the most current guidance.

Columbia County Public Health encourages all residents to stay informed about COVID-19:


PRESS RELEASE: Columbia County Public Health Announces Second Case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


April 2, 2020

Columbia County Public Health Announces Second Case of Novel Coronavirus

Saint Helens, OR—Columbia County Public Health has learned that a second resident of Columbia County has tested positive for COVID-19.

The individual is a male in the 60 to 69 age group. He is currently isolated at home. Statewide demographic and hospital information about tested positive cases is available on the Oregon Health Authority webpage at: https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COvID-19. Columbia County Public Health will not release the names of any individuals who have tested positive or further identifying information unless more details are necessary to protect the public.

When a positive test result occurs, local public health officials conduct contact tracing, which is a way to identify and notify others who have been in close proximity to the person who has tested positive. Columbia County Public Health is currently identifying close contacts of the new case and the agency will notify those individuals, as well as provide education and next steps for the contacts.

The county activated its Emergency Operations Center on Feb. 28 to support public health operations and to coordinate the multi-agency response to the outbreak County staff continues to collaborate with community partners and other jurisdictions to collectively slow the spread of this new disease.

Residents are reminded to follow Governor Kate Brown's statewide "Stay Home, Save Lives" order and take simple steps everyone can take to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands well and often;
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue;
  • Stay home unless traveling to get food, medicine or other necessary items, or if our job is considered critical and must be done in-person;
  • Cancel any gatherings, conferences or non-essential meetings;
  • Avoiding social and other gatherings; and
  • Increase the physical space between each other in workplaces and other settings as appropriate.

Columbia County Public Health encourages all residents to stay informed about COVID-19:

  • Local response: Columbia County Public Health is the lead agency.
  • Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority leads the state response.
  • United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.
  • Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.
  • Social media resources on "Stay Home, Save Lives" from the Governor's Office: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-stav-home-save-lives.

General questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 2-1-1. Questions about your specific medical needs should be directed to your health care provider. If you cannot find the information you need via the websites provided here or by dialing 211, call Columbia County Public Health at 503-397-7247.


PRESS RELEASE: Columbia County Public Health Announces First Case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


COLUMBIA COUNTY

Columbia County Public Health

230 Strand Street, Saint Helens, OR 97301

Phone 24/7: 503-3977247

Fax: 888-204-8568

health@co.columbia.or.us

March 27, 2020

Columbia County Public Health announces first case of novel coronavirus; health officials

investigating as they urge good hand hygiene and staying home

Saint Helens, OR—Columbia County Public Health has learned that a resident of Columbia County has tested positive for COVID-19.

“Our county’s first positive COVID-19 test is a reminder that we all need to remain vigilant about how to protect ourselves as well as our neighbors, friends and family,” stated Joe Skariah, DO, MPH, Health Officer for Columbia County Public Health. Skariah echoed public health messages released by other state and local health officials: “I am urging all citizens to pay attention to the direction that our Governor has provided. Please follow good hygiene measures and stay home to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

The individual, who is currently isolated at home, works as a health care worker in another county. Columbia County Public Health will not release names of any individuals who are positive or any additional identifying information, unless more details are necessary to protect the public.

When a positive test result occurs, local public health officials conduct contact tracing, which is a way to identify and notify others who have been in close proximity to the person who has tested positive.

Columbia County Public Health is currently identifying close contacts of the case, and the agency will notify those individuals, as well as review the signs of infection and next steps.

Columbia County Public Health activated an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate preparedness and response efforts across the county in order to support community capacity to respond. Columbia County Public Health staff continue to work in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, rural health centers, fire and emergency medical services, and our community-based organizations to protect the health and wellbeing of the public.

“We recognize that this is a very challenging and uncertain time for everyone,” Commissioner Tardif said. “We want to express our gratitude to all of our community partners and community members for all the work they have done, and continue to do, to protect the health and wellbeing of individuals who live and work in Columbia County. The health of the public is a team effort”, Tardif continued. “Please follow social  distancing recommendations and additional recommendations from both local health officials and the Governor’s Office. Stay home, stay healthy.”

Columbia County Public Health encourages all residents to stay informed about COVID-19:

  • Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority leads the state response.
  • United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.
  • Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.
  • Oregon residents who would like more information on COVID-19 can call 211. Call Columbia County Public Health at 503-397-7247 if you cannot find the information you need via websites or 211.
  • Social media resources on Stay Home, Save Lives from the Governor’s Office: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-stay-home-save-lives


Public Health Quick Links
General Information
Administrator
Michael Paul
Phone Numbers
General Public Health Inquiries and 24-hour Emergency Contact: 503-397-7247
Fax: 888-204-8568
Emergencies: Dial 911
Location
230 Strand St.
Columbia County Courthouse Annex
St. Helens,
OR
97051

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:00