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


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: 


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: 


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


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. 



Columbia County Public Health 


Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Information 


Columbia Health Services 


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 to learn more.

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