OHA Senior Health Advisor Dr. Melissa Sutton during today's media availability: "Currently, Oregon reports the number of persons tested for #COVID19 each week. Our data shows that to date, more than 966,000 people -- nearly 1 in 4 Oregonians – have been tested."
"Until this point, we have counted and reported people tested, because our infectious disease database was created and formatted to track people as opposed to laboratory results. Many other states report people tested for this same reason."
"Why have we reported the total number of people tested, instead of the total number of tests? Early in the pandemic, testing was occurring mostly through the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory or in hospital systems. Cases were being retested frequently."
"As the pandemic has progressed, many more people are being tested for COVID-19 and much more often. Testing criteria and practices have expanded dramatically, and today we recommend testing anyone with symptoms as well as all close contacts of cases."
"Under our current method of counting, we report:
-- Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. They are then excluded from being counted again for 90 days because reinfection is unlikely during that period.
-- Any person who tests negative, but only the first time."
"As a result, our people-tested metric really represents the number of new people tested each week and is significantly undercounting the true number of COVID-19 tests performed in Oregon."
"So, based on these COVID-19 testing methodologies, where does Oregon stand in relation to other states? Oregon is not at the bottom of the list when it comes to testing. According to CDC's data tracker, Oregon ranks 30th in the rate of tests performed per 100,000 people."
"This morning I want to announce a change in the way Oregon reports the number of tests performed in our state – and tell you what it means for our pandemic response. In the early pandemic measuring either people tested, or tests performed resulted in similar figures."
"However, in September as cases counts began to rise, these two methods began to diverge. And, as case counts have sharply increased so has the difference between the two methods."
"The difference is explained by people who have been tested previously & excluded under our current method: people who have been exposed to the virus more than once, people tested for work, in congregate living facilities, as part of an outbreak investigation, etc."
"Now, you’re probably asking yourself: How will Oregon’s percent positivity rate change under the new test-based reporting method? Percent positivity calculated by people tested vs. tests performed tracked very closely until case counts began to rise in September."
"Over the last few weeks, as case counts have skyrocketed, the difference in percent positivity as counted by these two methods has sharply intensified. We see that our most recent percent positivity calculation of 12.9% drops to 6.7% under our new test-based method."
"While percent positivity calculated under this new method is dramatically lower, we still consider 6.7% high and evidence of widespread community transmission."
"We have received 440,000 BinaxNow tests and deployed more than 160,000 to partners. Since Oregon began receiving the Abbott BinaxNOW tests, the number of tests performed has increased by 60%, to more than 113,000 last week."
"However, we continue to face testing constraints:
-- BinaxNow tests must be administered by trained personnel at federally certified locations
-- Federal allocations of BinaxNow tests are slated to end at the end of the year."
"We are actively working to recruit new testing partners to meet the requirements necessary to perform these tests. In addition to the BinaxNOW, we are standing up a series of low-barrier community testing events in partnership with HHS through the end of the year."
"Testing events are currently planned in 12 counties. They’re free and open to everyone. These events do not require identification or a physician’s order. For more information, visit our website: govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19"
"Oregon, like many other states, is working hard to bring more testing to Oregonians. But we know a test doesn’t protect you from COVID-19. As Director Allen said: wear a mask, stay physically distant from others, avoid gatherings, stay home when possible and wash your hands."

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More from @OHAOregon

20 Nov
OHA Director Patrick Allen speaking during today’s media availability: "As I speak to you today, we are at a dire point in the pandemic in Oregon. #COVID19 is spreading dangerously fast. Over the past week we have established new daily records for daily cases and deaths."
"But I want to underscore one vital point. The virus doesn’t set the timeline for anything: we do. You have the power to end this nightmare: wear a mask, keep your get-togethers small and limit your social interactions to one other household at a time."
"Let me give you an overview on where things stand in Oregon: In total, Oregon has recorded 62,175 cases, including 1,306 today, and now, 812 tragic and preventable deaths, including 4 today."
Read 13 tweets
25 Sep
OHA Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, Leann Johnson, during today's media availability: "Today we’re pleased to announce that OHA has selected a variety of non-profit organizations and tribal governments throughout the state as grantees for health equity grants."
"We have chosen 206 organizations and tribal governments to partner with to address the disproportionate impact of the #COVID19 pandemic on Oregon’s communities of color. The grants total $45M which the legislature designated for this purpose from federal CARES Act funding."
"The grants focus resources to communities most disproportionately impacted by #COVID19 and programs that will address health and economic disruptions, food insecurity and housing, and safety and violence prevention, among other aspects of need."
Read 10 tweets
25 Sep
OHA State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger speaking during today’s media availability: "We continue to see cases where seemingly innocuous activities – that we would not have thought twice about in the past - are fueling outbreaks."
"Here are some examples:
-- One Oregon county has 13 cases associated with 4 University outbreaks, including a Greek house and 3 athletic teams.
-- Another county has 22 cases associated with 3 University outbreaks, including 2 Greek houses and a large back to school party."
"-- Another county has an outbreak that includes 19 cases. It started with a small prayer group who met with others from a sewing group. One of the household members has died. None of the people reported wearing masks. Ages of cases ranges from young children to in their 80’s."
Read 6 tweets
25 Sep
OHA Director Patrick Allen during today’s media availability: "We find ourselves at another crossroads: After weeks of steady decline, #COVID19 cases have been rising. Today we are reporting 457 new cases – the single highest daily total since the onset of this pandemic."
"We have also seen an increase in the rate of positive tests. These are some of the contributing factors:
• Labor Day gatherings
• College students returning to campuses
• Testing interruptions in fire-ravaged areas and more people seeking care for respiratory issues"
"For several weeks, we were successful in reducing #COVID19 cases. New cases reported weekly were in steady decline. Oregon continues to have one of the lowest rates of infection in the nation. But this surge is an indication of how fragile our progress against the virus is."
Read 7 tweets
14 Sep
OHA Environmental Public Health Section Manager, Gabriela Goldfarb, speaking during today’s press conference: "Based on this morning’s smoke coordination call, we don’t see relief from harmful air quality until late in the week, closer to the weekend."
"Even in some places where there may be limited improvement at times, that just means dropping from one bad air category to the next. We are seeing that play out with health impacts to people in our communities: 10% of all ER visits across the state are for asthma-like symptoms."
"While everyone can experience symptoms of smoke exposure, susceptible populations such as pregnant women, children, the elderly, people recovering from respiratory infections, and people who have preexisting heart/respiratory disease are at higher risk."
Read 5 tweets
8 Sep
Today OHA released its Weekly Testing Summary, which showed that, of 26,855 people tested during the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 1,163, or 4.3 percent were positive. bit.ly/3jYJAFp
As in past weeks, the total for that week is likely to rise as test results continue to be reported to OHA.
As of Sept. 5, Oregon’s cumulative positivity rate is 4.6 percent of people tested. This is considerably lower than the national average of 8 percent.
Read 4 tweets

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