Marion County
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News Releases
County public health to discontinue clinical reproductive health services - 07/02/20

Marion County Health & Human Services has announced that reproductive health services will not resume as the department begins to reopen its Public Health Clinic, which has been closed since March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision follows months of careful assessment that began in 2019 when the county engaged a consultant to evaluate its service offerings in comparison to the needs of the community. The process incorporated input from employees, community partners, and individuals receiving services. The full report can be viewed on the Health & Human Services website.

The assessment found that the number of individuals seeking services from Marion County’s Reproductive Health Program had declined in recent years and that adequate alternatives exist to support the needs of the community were the program to close. In recent years, a shift in funding models for these services has led to an increase in access to and availability of primary care providers.

Marion County Health & Human Services will continue to coordinate with providers throughout the county to assist them in partnering with the Oregon Health Authority’s Reproductive Health Program and will work to ensure equitable access to care for all of the county’s residents.

Marion County’s Public Health Division Director, Katrina Rothenberger, said, “As the local public health authority, we take our responsibility to ensure equitable access to high quality healthcare for everyone in our community very seriously. As we begin to move away from direct service, we are eager to focus more of our time on creating change at the systems level.”   

Immunizations and STD/HIV services will continue at the county’s Salem Public Health Clinic located at 3180 Center St. NE and the county will work to assist community members in finding a healthcare provider if they do not already have one.

Marion County works to finalize contract with local hotel for isolation rooms - 06/23/20

Salem, OR – Marion County Health & Human Services is working to finalize a contract with a local hotel in the Woodburn area to provide an isolated, short-term location for Marion County residents with a possible exposure or a confirmed case of COVID-19 with mild symptoms, to self-isolate when they cannot otherwise do so safely. The contract is a requirement under Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s phased reopening framework, and is intended to ensure the county is prepared to protect residents and prevent the spread of the virus as the state moves forward with reopening.  

The hotel, an 81-room facility in the Woodburn-area, was selected because it will allow guests to safely distance themselves from others while also providing access to an on-site public health nurse to provide wellness checks and monitor symptoms. The hotel has been secured to house people unable to safely isolate, including farm workers and those who are under the supervision of Marion County Parole and Probation. The typical term of stay will be 14 days to isolate and quarantine, depending on the time frame of when the individual developed symptoms or was exposed to the virus. To start, the county anticipates that 10-15 individuals will be housed in the hotel.

 

The safety and security of the community are a top priority for the county. Each guest will sign a Standards of Conduct Agreement, outlining acceptable behaviors and expectations while in isolation. Security will be at the hotel 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Guests will not leave the facility during the isolation period and Marion County staff will tend to the needs of the individuals, including food and wellness checks.

 

Marion County’s Public Health Director, Katrina Rothenberger, stated, “This is a required resource for many people in our community who do not have other means to protect friends, coworkers, or loved ones from COVID-19 if they have a confirmed case or have been exposed. The hotel will allow us to slow the spread of COVID-19 by giving those with no place else to go a place to safely isolate.”


Before individuals leave the hotel, their symptoms will have been monitored for a minimum of three days by the on-site public health nurse, and transportation will be coordinated to return the individual to their community upon leaving the hotel. The county Health and Human Services Department will begin managing the facility on July 1, 2020.
 

Marion County Bat Tests Positive for Rabies - 06/17/20

Salem, OR – Public health officials are warning area residents to take precautions after a rabid bat was found in the Stayton area of Marion County, Oregon.

A dog with a current rabies vaccine owned by a resident of the Stayton area was bitten by a bat on June 12, 2020.  The bat was sent to Oregon State University for testing. Results confirmed the bat was positive for rabies. Based on the positive test, Marion County Public Health recommended the dog be quarantined for 45 days and given another rabies vaccine.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, bats are the most common carriers of rabies in this state. About 8-10% of bats tested for rabies are positive every year. So far in 2020, 3 bats have tested positive for rabies in Oregon.

Authorities emphasize the main protection for humans is to make sure pets are vaccinated and avoid contact with stray animals and wildlife. Public health officials advise taking extreme precautions before attempting to handle a bat. If it is necessary to pick up a bat, it is best to wear heavy gloves, use a shovel, or both.

The public should not approach bats, wildlife, or other mammals seen exhibiting odd behavior. 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. If you do have an exposure (e.g., scratch or bite) from a bat, immediately clean the wound and seek medical attention. If the bat has been captured, do not crush the bat or throw it away, as intact bats can be tested for rabies, which can help avoid post-exposure rabies shots. If your pet has encountered a bat or been bitten by a wild animal, contact your veterinarian immediately or call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 866-968-2600.

In the event of bat contact such as a bite or scratch, an attempt should be made to safely capture the bat for testing for the rabies virus. Efforts should be made to collect the bat without destroying the head and the bat should be kept in a cool place. Immediately seek medical attention and report the incident to Marion County at 503-588-5346.

For more information about rabies, please visit the Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division website at: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/RABIES/Pages/rabies.aspx

Information is also available on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at:  https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html

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Phase 2 Reopening of Marion County to Begin on June 19 - 06/17/20

Salem, OR – On Wednesday, June 17, 2020, Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority approved Marion County to enter Phase 2 of its reopening roadmap. Starting June 19, many additional businesses and types of activities will be allowed to resume or expand. Commissioner Kevin Cameron said that, “This important milestone comes at a critical time of need as families struggle with unemployment, businesses work hard to recover, and farmers begin their harvests. We’re thrilled to enter Phase 2 and get public life in Marion County moving again.”

In Phase 2, swimming pools, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and arcades can reopen. Bars and restaurants are able to expand hours of operation to stay open until midnight. Social, civic, and faith-based gatherings can meet in larger groups. Some recreational sports can resume, including training activities within college athletic programs. Importantly, Phase 2 retains several physical distancing and sanitation measures for businesses and other activities to help limit the spread of the coronavirus as people become more active in the community.

Marion County’s roadmap for reopening was developed in collaboration with county health experts, other local leaders, and regional public health partners. According to Commission Chair Colm Willis, “We’re proud to see that our county has successfully slowed the spread of COVID-19 to the point where we can confidently move into Phase 2. Today’s success is a testament to the hard work and resiliency of the people of Marion County.”

Throughout reopening, anyone who feels sick should remain at home. Additionally, high-risk individuals who are over 65 years of age or suffering chronic illnesses should continue to remain home as much as possible. We encourage all individuals to continue to follow physical distancing guidelines. All businesses, organizations, and activities that choose to reopen should follow state guidelines, many of which are available by specific sector and type of activity. Face coverings are strongly recommended for all individuals and are required for employees in many businesses.

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