PUBLISHED: January 12, 2022
From the OREGON HEALTH AUTHORITY
PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Health Authority moves to membership model to investigate cases of COVID-19, launching new website and hotline as a way for people who test positive for the virus to report kit results home test or testing provider.
People using the new COVID test positive 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 via the hotline. They can also get information about isolation and other ways to protect themselves and those around them while they recover.
Service launch follows OHA decision to revise its guidelines for investigating COVID-19 cases to focus less on interviewing individual cases and contact tracing, and more on outbreaks in high-risk settings, such as those in the group care, healthcare, K-12 education, and food chain industries.
“The current and rapidly growing wave of COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant has exceeded the ability of the Oregon public health system to effectively conduct active case investigation and contact tracing, which cannot effectively slow the spread of disease in the context of community transmission, ”said Dean Sidelinger, MD, MSEd., state health worker and epidemiologist with 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 actions, we are adjusting case investigations and outreach efforts. The OHA will move away from individual investigations and contact tracing calls to focus on investigating outbreaks in high-risk settings, ”he said.
The OHA takes an ‘on board’ approach to case investigation, ensuring that those who test positive for COVID-19 or exposed to the virus can quickly access information and resources to isolate and quarantine safely. The first offer is the website, Oregon.gov/positivecovidtest, which contains a link to a mobile-friendly case investigation investigation. The survey, soon to be available in 12 languages - it is now available in English, Spanish and Russian – can be used by anyone who tests positive to provide additional information to public health.
The OHA does not require individuals to report their test results at home, but it strongly recommends that people do so and notify their close contacts that they may have been exposed so they can take action. to limit exposure to others. Hospitals, healthcare providers, laboratories and local public health authorities are required to report test results.
The COVID-19 helpline, 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 on how to tell close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19; information on resources to help them during segregation; and help complete the online case investigation survey so that positive callers’ tests can be reported. Staff will provide support in English and Spanish, with interpreter services available for other languages.
Sidelinger said COVID-19 hotline staff include members of the OHA COVID response and recovery unit case investigation and contact tracing team. (CRRU), so they are well qualified to answer questions about isolation, quarantine and available resources. The availability of the hotline will also allow local public health authorities to reduce or eliminate case investigations by telephone, “allowing them to redeploy these resources towards higher value mitigation efforts.”
Hotline staff will also be able to sort out calls that might normally be routed to local public health authorities, only forwarding them if they require local follow-up.