Curry County begins transfer of public health services to the state next week

Curry County commissioners authorized the Oregon Health Authority to take over public health responsibilities in the county after the local public health department lost most of its staff.

Posted: Apr 29, 2021 1:05 PM
Updated: Apr 29, 2021 1:17 PM

GOLD BEACH, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority says that it will begin a requested takeover of public health services in Curry County next week, though the process is expected to take several weeks to complete.

OHA's intervention came at the request of Curry County's board of commissioners, which approved an amended resolution covering the transfer of responsibility on Wednesday. Both OHA and Curry County agreed to terminate their existing agreements.

“I’m very happy that Curry County is entering a new era in public health for our citizens,” said commissioner Court Boice. “We have been working closely with OHA to ensure a smooth transition and look forward to a strong future partnership.”

Boice told NewsWatch 12 in an interview this week that Curry County Public Health has been struggling with short staffing and limited funds, particularly during the pandemic, and the agency was not "getting the job done."

Termination of the existing agreements is effective May 2, OHA said, and an exact date for transfer of public health authority has not yet been set. The agency said that it would be working with Curry County over the next several weeks on the transition of responsibilities.

Oregon law authorizes counties to pass public health authority to OHA. Though the law does not require that transfer to occur for 180 days, OHA indicated that the process would proceed quickly due to Curry County's staffing issues.

“We recognize the Curry County Board of Commissioners has the legal ability to transfer local public health authority to OHA. We will work closely with the board and its staff during the shift from local to state provision of public health services,” said Rachael Banks, M.P.A., director of the OHA Public Health Division. “We will thoroughly examine and address any potential gaps in public health services that have been provided in the county."

Public health duties include the current COVID-19 pandemic response, monitoring other communicable diseases and controlling outbreaks, ensuring access to safe drinking water, access to health programs for women and children, and licensing and inspecting food, pools, and lodging facilities.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
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Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
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Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
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Jefferson376052
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Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
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Reported Deaths: 71341
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Los Angeles148419226540
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3673614183
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Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
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San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
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Inyo214241
Mono16723
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Trinity88011
Modoc6895
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