Public Health Department Prioritizes Investigating High-Risk COVID-19 Outbreaks and Providing Vital Services

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has revised its guidelines for investigating COVID-19 cases. The revised guidelines focus less on interviewing individual cases and conducting contact tracing, and more on outbreaks in high-risk settings such as congregate care, health care, K-12 education, and food chain industries.

OHA is adopting an “opt-in” approach to case investigation and has launched a website and hotline for people who receive a COVID-19-positive test result. Visit to report positive tests and get information on isolation, quarantine, and ways to keep yourself and those around you safe while you recover.

Individuals can call 866-917-8881 to reach the COVID-19 Case Support Hotline. Hotline staff includes case investigation and contact tracing team members from OHA’s COVID Response and Recovery Unit (CRRU). They are well qualified to answer questions about isolation, quarantine, and available resources. Hotline staff will also be able to triage calls that might normally go to local public health authorities, forwarding them only if they require local follow-up.

OHA offers an opt-in survey for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Completing the survey helps the Public Health Department and OHA learn more about how COVID-19 impacts our residents and community. It also provides those in greatest need with resources to stay healthy.

OHA no longer requires that the Columbia County Public Health Department reach out to interview individual cases and conduct contact tracing. Instead, the department will rely on county residents to report positive COVID-19 test results using the new OHA website and hotline. “Availably of the OHA website and hotline will enable our Public Health team to reduce phone-based case investigations and shift resources to prioritize investigating high-risk outbreaks and providing other vital public health services,” says Mike Paul, Director of Public Health.

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