Free air purifiers for high-risk wildfire zones

The summer of 2020 broke records in terms of wildfires in Oregon. Flames destroyed approximately 4,000 homes and 1 million acres of land. Smoke entered homes and lungs in every corner of the state. Oregon lawmakers responded by funding air purifiers for people in communities where wildfires are common. The air purifiers make up a […]

Wearing a mask to protect others

People wear masks for lots of reasons. When we asked newsletter readers to share their thoughts on masking, we received nearly 4,000 responses. Some expressed concern the mandate was lifted, and others were excited to remove their masks. One theme that emerged was that many people continue to wear a mask to protect others. Edith […]

How to use regional COVID-19 data to make decisions about day-to-day life

(This story was updated at 9:09 p.m. on May 5, 2022, to include an accurate hyperlink to “vaccination and booster rates” on OHA’s website.) Now that Oregon’s mask mandate has ended for most indoor public spaces, people may feel uncertain or uneasy about venturing out without masks. How do we decide to go to the […]

Clatsop County volunteers came together during challenging times

In December 2020, the phone lines at the Clatsop County Public Health Department were jammed. Hundreds of questions came in every day from worried callers wanting to know about COVID-19 symptoms, isolation and testing. Other callers wanted to report  businesses ignoring COVID-19 state mandates.   Jane Dunkin, Clatsop County human resources assistant and volunteer coordinator, […]

New app helps Russian, Thai and Persian-language speakers find information about COVID-19

A new app, launched by the Portland non-profit Torus, aims to help some English language learners, specifically refugees, find COVID-19 information in their native languages. The Torus App was developed by Afghanistan-born Ramin Tokhi, whose first language is Dari (a Persian dialect). In 2020 Tokhi founded Torus to provide “a sense of belonging to a […]

COVID-19 treatments Paxlovid and Molnupiravir available to eligible patients

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are now several effective treatments for the disease. Two of those treatments are Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, antiviral pills for non-hospitalized patients. They are available by prescription to people infected with the COVID-19 virus who have conditions that put them at risk for severe illness. Eligibility for […]

My Electronic Vaccine Card offers digital access to your COVID-19 vaccination record

Oregon’s My Electronic Vaccine Card gives you an electronic copy of COVID-19 vaccinations you’ve received in Oregon. It’s the same information on your paper vaccine card. By using this new and completely voluntary service, you can use your mobile device to show proof of vaccination in places such as businesses, airports, international borders or in medical […]

Why it’s important to be vaccinated and boosted even though you can still get COVID-19 

If you can still get COVID-19 after vaccination, what’s the point of getting vaccinated?   This is a common question, and it has a simple answer. Like most preventive measures, the COVID-19 vaccines can’t provide absolute protection. However, these vaccines clearly reduce the risk of getting infected, and most importantly, they are extremely effective at reducing […]

How to prepare for future waves of COVID-19

The initial Omicron surge has receded significantly. More people have some level of protection against COVID-19, from vaccination or following recovery from a recent infection, than at any time in the past two years. But the pandemic has not ended, and it‘s difficult to predict how COVID-19 will affect our lives in the future. But […]

Understanding BA.2’s rise across the U.S. and Oregon

The subvariant of Omicron called BA.2 is now the dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BA.2 is about 33% more contagious than BA.1 — the Omicron variant that caused the U.S.’s winter surge — and now represents more than 70% of […]