BAKER COUNTY:  Update from county on COVID-19

BAKER COUNTY: Update from county on COVID-19

Governor Issues Executive Order to Stay Home, Save Lives

Governor Kate Brown enacted Executive Order 20-12, Stay Home, Save Lives, ordering Oregonians to stay at home unless going out is essential, closing specified retail businesses, requiring social distancing measures for other public and private facilities, and imposing new requirements for outdoor areas and licensed childcare facilities. Executive Order 20-12 is attached.

The Baker County Courthouse has temporarily closed all county office locations to the public. Many departments will continue to provide services by phone and email, and essential services will continue as needed by appointment.

Baker City Hall is also closed to the public until further notice. All City employees are currently working. Staff can meet with citizens by calling 541-523-6541. The City is encouraging all citizens to adhere to the social distancing requirements and applying the recommended hygiene regimens.

Testing  for COVID-19

The Baker County Health Department has received questions about testing for COVID-19. Testing is being conducted locally by medical providers for those that meet testing criteria. Depending upon when a test is performed and which lab the test is sent to, it takes an average of 7 days to receive test results. Testing is available through the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory as well as a number of commercial labs.

People with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing who meet the following criteria may qualify for testing from a commercial laboratory:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Patients with worsening symptoms
  • Patients older than 60 years of age
  • Patients with underlying medical conditions, including, but not limited to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and immunocompromising conditions


  • Pregnant women
  • Patients who had contact with a suspected or lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who traveled from an affected geographic area, within 14 days of their symptom onset

Any person meeting the criteria will need to be assessed by a medical provider who will decide if they need to be tested. Influenza is still circulating in our area and flu testing is recommended prior to testing for COVID-19. The State of Oregon requires all Oregon laboratories, and asks out-of-state reference laboratories, to report both positive and negative test results, so the Oregon Health Authority can calculate percentages of positives in various settings and among various demographic groups.

Alicia Hills, Nursing Supervisor at the Baker County Health Department, advises, “We are asking that people who are not ill enough to seek medical attention stay home and se lf-quarantine. If someone is sick enough to need medical services, please call prior to arriving at the clinic or the emergency room to be assessed and get instructions on how to enter the facility. Due to limited testing supplies and personal protective equipment, we are asking people to not seek medical services unless it is necessary. We need to save the limited resources for the most critically ill of our population. Please help us by continuing to use good hand hygiene, covering your cough and sneezes, staying home when you are sick and adhering to social distancing recommendations. We all need to work together during this time to help slow the spread of this virus and decrease the risk to our most vulnerable population and conserve our limited resources.”

Baker County Clerk’s Office Service Update

Baker County Clerk, Stefanie Kirby’s office has made adjustments to continue to provide services while public access to the office is closed in response to the spread of COVID-19.

Recording hours have been adjusted to the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Clerk’s office will accept and process recordings that are received through either of their two e-recording vendors or mail at this time.

Records requests need to be submitted by phone or email and will be filled as quickly as possible, but as time allows due to limited staff. Payment can be arranged by phone.

Passport application services and marriage licensing have been suspended at this time, since both services require business to be done in the office.

If anyone needs to register to vote or update voter registration and has an Oregon driver’s license, please visit where voter registration can be managed online. If you anyone needs a voter registration card to complete, the Clerk’s office will mailone out if you make a request by phone or email.

For immediate needs or any questions, please call the office at 541-523-8207 or email


Red Cross Blood Drives Continue

Nadine McCrindle with the American Red Cross says the blood drive scheduled for March 30, 2020 at the Nazarene Church will continue. She reminds everyone that collecting and distributing blood during

this time is critically important. Blood services, blood drives and the blood supply chain are considered essential services and must continue to help save lives.

Following the “Stay Home, Save Lives” executive order announced yesterday by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, it is critically important for people to know they are still encouraged to donate blood. In fact, the

U.S. surgeon general has said, “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”

Like a hospital, grocery store, or pharmacy, a blood drive is essential to ensuring the health of the community, and the Red Cross will continue to hold blood drives during this challenging time . If you’ve made a blood donation appointment, you are encouraged to keep it, and if you have not, you are encouraged to schedule one.