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News Releases
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Benton County to offer COVID-19 vaccine events; advises to prepare and get vaccinated for winter season (Photo) - 12/05/22

In the past few years, Benton County has experienced relatively mild flu seasons, partly due to the widespread precautions taken against COVID-19. These precautions proved effective against other kinds of respiratory illnesses as well. This year, there is an increase in many common respiratory illnesses, including the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). 

As the winter flu season approaches, it is essential to remember how to best prevent infections: avoid crowded indoor spaces or wear a high filtration mask like an N95, practice good hygiene by covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing and washing your hands frequently, stay home when you are sick, and get your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations. 

There are vaccines for both COVID-19 and the flu, but there is no vaccine for RSV. The COVID-19 and flu vaccines are available through medical providers and most local pharmacies. The Benton County Health Department continues to work with community partners to offer COVID-19 vaccine events throughout the county. The influenza vaccine is not available at these events. To receive both COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time, visit your local pharmacist or medical provider. 

Here is the schedule and details for upcoming COVID-19 vaccine events. Vaccines are available for individuals 6 months and older. The bivalent booster is available for everyone 5 years and older. No appointment is needed:

Corvallis 

  • ​Location: Benton County Event Center & Fairgrounds, Guerber Building, 110 SW 53rd Street
    • Wednesday and Thursday, December 14 and 15, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • This is an indoor event and is not a drive-thru
  • Location: Lincoln Elementary School, 110 SE Alexander Ave
    • Saturday, December 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    • Free COVID-19 test kits will be available to take home
  • Location: Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis, 1112 NW Circle Boulevard 
    • Sunday, December 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    • Free COVID-19 test kits will be available to take home

Philomath

  • Location: Clemens Primary School Cafeteria, 535 S 19th Street
    • Friday, December 16, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Free COVID-19 test kits will be available to take home

The COVID-19 vaccine is free, safe, and effective. No identification or health insurance is required. All events are wheelchair accessible. To request additional accommodations, please call 541-766-6120. For more information visit: https://bit.ly/BentonCoGov-VaccinationEvents.

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@co.benton.or.us.

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Primeros casos reportados de hMPXV en el Condado de Benton, vacuna disponible en el evento de vacunas contra el COVID-19 de esta semana (Photo) - 11/14/22

Corvallis, ORE. - Se han reportado los primeros casos de hMPXV (comúnmente conocido como la viruela del mono) en el Condado de Benton. Actualmente hay 2 casos conocidos. El Departamento de Salud del Condado de Benton no divulga información de salud protegida, que incluye cualquier información que pueda identificar a un paciente específico. Estos individuos están siguiendo las recomendaciones de los funcionarios de salud pública y los médicos.

Cuando alguien da positivo de hMPXV, el Departamento de Salud trabaja para alertar a todos los contactos cercanos de la persona y da opciones para hacerse la prueba, dar tratamiento y recibir vacunación. Y aunque cualquier persona puede contraer hMPXV, el riesgo es mayor para las personas que han tenido un contacto prolongado de piel con piel con personas infectadas. Si se le ha notificado que es un contacto cercano o sabe de alguien en sus círculos sociales que tiene o ha tenido hMPXV, o si tiene un alto riesgo de exposición, debe vacunarse.

Además del alcance continuo enfocado a los grupos de personas con mayor riesgo, el Departamento de Salud está colaborando con la Autoridad de Salud de Oregón y la Universidad Estatal de Oregón para ofrecer la vacuna JYNNEOS hMPXV en los próximos eventos de vacunación contra el COVID-19 en el campus de OSU de Corvallis esta semana. Esta vacuna es gratis y no se necesita seguro médico.

  • Del 15 al 17 de noviembre, de 12:00 p.m. a 4:00 p.m.
  • Universidad Estatal de Oregón, Edificio Memorial Union Salón 62, 2501 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis

La vacuna JYNNEOS también está disponible a través de otros proveedores en el Condado de Benton. Hable con su médico o comuníquese con una de las agencias a continuación para programar una cita o si no está seguro de si debe vacunarse:

  • Departamento de Salud del Condado de Benton: 541-766-6835
  • Enfermedades Infecciosas del Hospital Samaritan: 541-768-5810 o programe su propia cita en línea aquí
  • Servicios de Salud de OSU (solo para estudiantes de OSU): 541-737-9355

Para obtener más información sobre hMPXV, incluyendo los síntomas y cómo protegerse, visite: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/monkeypox/Pages/index.aspx

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El Condado de Benton es un empleador de igualdad de oportunidades-acción afirmativa y no discrimina con base en la discapacidad en la admisión o el acceso a nuestros programas, servicios, actividades, contratación y prácticas laborales. Este documento está disponible en formatos e idiomas alternativos a pedido de los interesados. Llame a Cory Grogan al 541-745-4468 o envíe un correo electrónico a pioinfo@co.benton.or.us.

First cases of hMPXV reported in Benton County, vaccine available at COVID-19 vaccine event this week (Photo) - 11/14/22

Corvallis, ORE. - The first cases of hMPXV (commonly known as monkeypox) have been reported in Benton County. There are currently two known cases. The Benton County Health Department does not disclose protected health information, which includes any information that could identify a specific patient. The individuals are following recommendations from public health officials and medical providers.

When someone tests positive for hMPXV, the Health Department works to alert all close contacts of the individual, and provides options for testing, treatment and vaccination. While anyone can get hMPXV, risk is higher for individuals who have engaged in prolonged skin-to-skin contact with people who are infected. If you have been notified you are a close contact or are aware of someone in your social circles who has or has had hMPXV, or if you are otherwise at high risk of exposure, you should seek vaccination.

In addition to ongoing focused outreach to higher risk populations, the Health Department has partnered with the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon State University to offer the JYNNEOS hMPXV vaccine at the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics on OSU Corvallis campus this week. This vaccine is available for free, no health insurance required. 

  • November 15 - 17, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Oregon State University, Memorial Union Room 62, 2501 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis

The JYNNEOS vaccine is also available through providers in Benton County. Speak with your medical provider, or contact one of the providers below to arrange a vaccination or if you are unsure if you should be vaccinated: 

  • Benton County Health Department: 541-766-6835
  • Samaritan Infectious Disease: 541-768-5810 or self-schedule online here
  • OSU Student Health Services (for OSU students only): 541-737-9355

For more information on hMPXV, including symptoms and how to protect yourself, visit: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/monkeypox/Pages/index.aspx

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@co.benton.or.us.

Attached Media Files: What to know about hMPXV
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Homelessness resources and housing navigation center project designated as preferred project for bond (Photo) - 11/14/22

Corvallis, ORE. - The Benton County Board of Commissioners voted to include funding for a homelessness services facility in the County’s planned bond measure, to be put before voters in May 2023.

The Justice System Improvement Program (JSIP) is the County’s most comprehensive approach yet to determine how best to improve Benton County’s justice system and mental health services to be equitable, effective, and safe. A top priority has been listening to and receiving feedback from community members including a series of community forums, small group presentations, and surveys this fall. Following an October 18, 2022 report on the results of a second survey, the Board directed County staff to research and present options for the inclusion of funding to directly address homelessness in the bond measure.

Program manager Nick Kurth presented the Board with those options at a special Board meeting today. A set of criteria for inclusion in the bond measure was presented as well as five possible funding scenarios. Criteria included alignment with previously accepted facilities recommendations from the Homelessness, Opportunity, Planning and Equity Advisory Board (HOPE) and a project that has already started to engage community stakeholders. Funding from the bond would serve as a financial catalyst rather than a full project investment and would involve outside stakeholders, supporting partnerships and collaboration with the County.

After considering several options, the Board voted unanimously in support of including funding for homelessness services facilities with a preferred partner option of the Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center’s (CDDC) homelessness resources and housing navigation center project. Staff and guests at CDDC have been working on a plan to scale up the current Daytime Drop-in Center as well as add a respite/emergency shelter component to the facility. Working alongside community partners, CDDC is poised to seek state funds like those provided through House Bill 2006, aimed at “funding a low-barrier emergency shelter that connects individuals and families with health services, permanent housing, and public benefits.” The center would also “house diverse agencies that provide services to shelter guests as well as the greater community.”

“The Drop-in Center is eager for this opportunity to increase support for some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” shared Allison Hobgood, Executive Director of CDDC. “This expansion project opens up the possibility for new and powerful collaborations across public private partnerships. It also means forwarding a vision for CDDC growth that is being voiced by the guests we serve. I’m grateful for the positive reception CDDC’s navigation center project has already had in the community. So many folks in Benton County understand the need for increased support for people experiencing homelessness. Everyone wants to do something—together—about it. It’s really meaningful.”

In December, the Benton County Board of Commissioners will begin discussions about finalizing a bond measure of up to $100 million to be placed on the May 2023 ballot. Members of the public can learn more or sign up to receive updates and announcements related to the Justice System Improvement Program on the web at www.bentoncountyjustice.org

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@co.benton.or.us.

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Road Closure Notification (Photo) - 11/10/22

SW Country Club Drive is scheduled to be closed between SW Barley Hill Drive and 53rd Street, November 14-15, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Emergency vehicles must use the detour route during the closure.  The detour route is SW Barley Hill Drive to Otana Drive to Windflower Drive corridor.  This closure is for paving and is weather dependent.

For questions regarding the closure contact Benton County Public Works, Gordon Kurtz, Associate Engineer 541.766.6006; gordon.p.kurtz@co.benton.or.us.

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Nov. 19 Is Mushroom Day at Beazell Memorial Forest and Education Center (Photo) - 11/09/22

Join Benton County Natural Areas & Parks for an introductory exploration of Pacific Northwest edible mushrooms where participants can identify different mushrooms in a natural setting. 

The program is catered to beginners and all are welcome.

Since parking is limited at Beazell, please plan to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before the program starts and leave within 15 minutes of the program's end time. The morning session is 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the afternoon session is 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Children are welcome. Ages 16 and under cost $5 and must be accompanied by an adult. Children 3 and under are free.

Date: November 19, 2022
Time: 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Admission: $25
Location: Beazell Memorial Forest and Education Center
37283 Kings Valley Hwy., Philomath, OR 97370
View Website

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Benton County Partners with Community in Prioritizing Housing Solutions, ROCKit Grant Program Maps the Way (Photo) - 11/08/22

Benton County, the City of Corvallis, Community Services Consortium, and key health and social service providers are partnering with the Community ROCKit (Resource Organizer for Communities Kit) program in the development of a coordinated entry system that connects community members to housing and services.

The collaboration comes during a critical time when COVID-19 and economic factors have only deepened an already existing housing crisis. The number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Benton County has increased dramatically (more than 95%) since 2015.

“Solutions to homelessness are a priority for our community, and Benton County is committed to addressing affordability and homelessness by engaging the whole community in assu,ring safe, healthy, and affordable housing for all community members,” said Benton County Commissioner, Nancy Wyse. “Tackling this project is an important step toward developing local solutions. Working with ROCKit gives us an opportunity to leverage our community’s resources and attributes.”

Benton County has one of the highest rates of income inequality in Oregon. Forty percent of all renters pay more than half of their income on rent; this number rises to 83% of extremely low-income individuals. For every 100 families in Benton County with extremely-low income, only 14 affordable rental units are available.

Benton County’s collaboration with ROCKit will build off the efforts of the Home, Opportunity, Planning, and Equity (HOPE) Board, a joint effort to facilitate a comprehensive, coordinated response to homelessness. The HOPE Board included coordinated entry in its recommendations to the City and County for addressing homelessness. 

An effective coordinated entry process helps Benton County prioritize the most vulnerable people in our community ensuring that people who need assistance the most can receive it in a timely manner. Coordinated entry processes also provide information about service needs and gaps to help communities plan their assistance and identify needed resources.

“We don’t need data to see that homelessness is a problem in our community,” said Dina Eldridge, Housing Services Manager of Community Services Consortium. “We need data to help us solve it. That’s where ROCKit comes in, to help identify how we can implement coordinated entry in order to prioritize better connecting the most vulnerable individuals to housing opportunities,” Eldridge said.

The Community ROCKit model, which focuses on identifying existing assets and amplifying community engagement to solve local issues, will help the City and County in their next steps moving to a coordinated entry process for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. 

With assistance from ROCKit, the agencies will participate in a 90-day process to develop a roadmap for community resource and capacity inventorying, commitment to actionable items, asset mapping, ongoing process measurement, and hands-on help facilitating and implementing the process. 

“ROCKit is all about catalyzing the people, capacities, and assets that communities already have and using them in new ways to address those local challenges,” said Christine Bechtel, co-creator of Community ROCKit. "We’re honored to support Benton County in its goal to connect vulnerable individuals to housing opportunities by inspiring participation in an effective coordinated entry process.”  

The grant-funded Community ROCKit program has previously partnered with Umatilla, Tillamook, Morrow, and Gilliam Counties to help these communities identify solutions to local challenges such as childcare affordability, access to mental health services, and emergency housing crisis. 

Community ROCKit is available at no cost to selected communities. Additional free resources about Community ROCKit to help communities take the guesswork out of recovery planning are available at: www.communityrockit.org.

Media Contacts:

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please call Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or email pioinfo@co.benton.or.us.

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Benton County to offer the updated COVID-19 bivalent booster for everyone 5 years and older at upcoming vaccine events (Photo) - 11/07/22

The Benton County Health Department continues to work with community partners to offer COVID-19 bivalent booster events throughout the county. This updated vaccine is a bivalent mRNA vaccine, which teaches your immune system how to target the original strain and the omicron strain of COVID-19.

This updated bivalent vaccine has now been authorized for use in younger children ages 5 and over. Everyone is eligible 2 months after completing the primary series of any COVID-19 vaccine, or 2 months after receiving a monovalent booster. It doesn’t matter what brand of vaccine or how many boosters you previously received. If you are 5 years or older, and the last booster you received was before September 2022, you’re eligible for an updated booster.

Here are the schedule details for upcoming COVID-19 vaccine events. The bivalent booster will be available for everyone 5 years and older at each event while supplies last. No appointment is needed:

Corvallis 

  • ​Location: Benton County Event Center & Fairgrounds Auditorium, 110 SW 53rd Street
    • Tuesday through Thursday, November 15 - 17, from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    • This is an indoor event and is not a drive-thru
  • Location: Oregon State University, Memorial Union, 2501 SW Jefferson Way
    • Tuesday through Thursday, November 15 - 17, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Location: Lincoln Elementary School, 110 SE Alexander Avenue
    • Saturday, November 19, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Free COVID-19 test kits will be available to take home
  • Location: Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis, 1112 NW Circle Boulevard 
    • Sunday, November 20, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Free COVID-19 test kits will be available to take home

Philomath

  • Location: Clemens Primary School Cafeteria, 535 S 19th Street
    • Friday, November 18, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Free COVID-19 test kits will be available to take home

The COVID-19 vaccine is free, safe, and effective. No identification or health insurance is required. All events are wheelchair accessible. To request additional accommodations, please call 541-766-6120. For more information visit: https://bit.ly/BentonCoGov-VaccinationEvents.

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@co.benton.or.us.