OHA moves opt-in to investigate COVID-19 cases, launches new website and helpline

The agency does not require bringing test results home, but “strongly recommends” you do so

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Oregon Health Authority said Wednesday it is moving to an opt-in model for investigating COVID-19 cases, launching a new website and hotline as a way for people who test positive for the virus to report results from a home test kit or test provider.

People using the new Positive COVID test website and Hotline for COVID-19 cases, 866-917-8881, can complete an online survey linked to the web portal to report their positive case, or get help completing the survey through the hotline. They can also get information about isolation and other ways to protect themselves and those around them during their recovery.

The launch of the services follows a decision by the OHA to revise its guidelines for investigating COVID-19 cases to focus less on individual case maintenance and contact tracing, and more on outbreaks in high-risk environments, such as those in community care, healthcare, K-12 education, and food chain industries.

“The current and growing increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant has exceeded the ability of Oregon’s public health system to effectively conduct active case investigation and contact tracing, which cannot not effectively slow the spread of the disease in the context of widespread spread. community transmission,” said Dean Sidelinger, MD, MSEd., health officer and state epidemiologist at the Oregon Health Authority.

“As a result, given the burdens on the entire public health infrastructure and the need to redirect resources to higher priority public health measures, we are adjusting case investigations and outreach efforts. The OHA will move away from individual investigations and contact tracing calls to focus on outbreak investigations in high-risk settings,” he said.

OHA is taking an “opt-in” approach to case investigation, with a focus on ensuring people who test positive for COVID-19 or who are exposed to the virus can quickly access information and resources. to safely isolate and quarantine. The first offer is the website, Oregon.gov/positivecovidtest, which contains a link to a mobile-friendly case investigation survey. The survey, soon to be available in 12 languages ​​– it is now accessible in English, Spanish and Russian – can be used by anyone who has tested positive to provide further information to public health.

The OHA does not require individuals to report their home test results, but it strongly recommends that people do so and let close contacts know they may have been exposed so they can take measures to limit the exposure of others. Hospitals, health care providers, laboratories and local public health authorities are required to report test results.

The COVID-19 hotline, 866-917-8881, will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Support staff will be available to provide general health information; answers to questions about isolation and quarantine; answers to questions about how to tell close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19; information about resources to help them during isolation; and help complete the online case investigation survey so that positive test callers can be reported. Staff will provide support in English and Spanish, with interpretation services available for other languages.

Sidelinger said staff at the COVID-19 case hotline include members of the COVID Response and Recovery Unit (CRRU) case investigation and contact tracing team. from the OHA, so they are well qualified to answer questions about isolation, quarantine, and available resources. The hotline’s availability will also allow local public health authorities to reduce or eliminate case investigations over the phone, “allowing them to redeploy those resources toward higher-value mitigation efforts.”

Helpline staff will also be able to triage calls that might normally be routed to local public health authorities, only forwarding them if they require local follow-up.

Local public health authorities and the following tribes recommend their residents and members use local contact information if they have questions or need assistance after testing positive for COVID-19:


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