In an effort to ensure access to COVID-19 testing throughout Klamath County, Klamath Health Partnership next week is offering free testing in Merrill and Malin.

Walk-up and drive through testing will be offered 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 14, at the Merrill Civic Center.

Testing in Malin will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, May 15, at City Hall.


Participants will be asked to complete some paperwork before being given the nasal swab test.

This service is made possible through a collaboration between Klamath County Public Health and Klamath Health Partnership.

“Klamath County Public Health has a vested interest and commitment to the entire county,” said Director Jennifer Little. “We have built strong ties to the small towns beyond Klamath Falls and are proud to say that some of our staff members are part of these communities. Even before we knew the criteria for reopening the county, my staff was advocating for their friends and neighbors.”

Public Health does not have the capacity to test individuals, but has longstanding relationships within the medical community.

“Accessibility is a key value for Klamath Health Partnership,” said CEO Signe Porter. “When we knew expanded testing offerings were necessary to reopen the county, we wanted to collaborate with our rural communities. Also, providing the testing for free is a vital part of our mission. This is possible thanks to donations from the Klamath community and its business sector. If necessary, our board of directors agreed to cover any remaining costs.”

COO Amanda Blodgett explained that the testing in Merrill and Malin were just the beginning of service in the smaller towns. “We are hopeful to bring a day of testing to both Bonanza and Chiloquin, too. It’s our intention to ensure anyone who would like to be tested can be tested. We also understand that work restrictions may have some families struggling financially. Our trained staff will be available to offer assistance to sign up for the Oregon Health Plan.”

For any tests that return a positive result, Klamath County Public Health will follow-up with the individual to provide direction for isolation and symptom monitoring.

“We are calling this project ‘Stay healthy to stay open’,” said Little.

With the interest in reopening the county prominent in many people’s minds, it is important to remember how to prevent exposure to COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home.
    • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
    • Stay at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) from other people.
    • Do not gather in groups.
    • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
    • Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
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