The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released an update to the number of COVID-19 case investigators and contact tracers statewide, showing that Oregon counties now have 500 people able to carry out case investigations and contact tracing functions. Many counties continue to hire and train staff to be prepared for any surge in cases. This staffing estimate is based on county reports to OHA.
In addition to county staff, OHA has just under 100 staff ready to assist counties with case investigation and contact tracing in the event of an outbreak. Some of the OHA staff have been deployed to recent outbreaks in Union and Lincoln counties, along with state epidemiological resources and additional forms of support.
As of June 15, the current statewide total of county and state contact tracers is now about 600 people, an increase of 359 from a prior survey conducted in late April.
OHA also recently announced funding opportunities for Community Based Organizations (CBOs) throughout the state as part of the COVID-19 response, including working on contact tracing. OHA considers CBOs central to the success of this work to integrate methods, tactics and strategies that are most responsive to the needs of people of color, people with disabilities, immigrant and refugee communities, Tribes, Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers and LGBTQIA+ communities.
“Public health officials want to make quick contact with everyone who tests positive for COVID-19, as well as other people who’ve been near them, so we can contain the spread of the disease,” said Dr. Tom Jeanne, deputy state epidemiologist. “We’re encouraged by the progress counties have made in building their contact tracing teams, but we’re not finished. We’re excited to add community partners, who can help us build trust and help suppress COVID-19 in the communities they serve.”
Below is a table of the current county staffing status for case investigation and contact tracing as reported by the counties themselves. Case investigation and contact tracing are core public health tools to control the spread of infectious diseases and is a cornerstone of Oregon’s reopening strategy. For a definition of these two activities, what members of the public can expect if they are contacted by local public health staff, and other important information please visit healthoregon.org/contacttracing or healthoregon.org/rastreodecontacto
For more details on CBO funding opportunities, please visit https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ERD/Pages/COVID-19-Funding-Opportunity.aspx.
|LPHA/County||Trained and available case investigators||Trained and available contact tracers|
|Clackamas||8.45 trained; 8 hired and training||3.4 trained; 9.2 hired and training|
|Columbia||6||Have some part time, some volunteers, in process of training them|
|Coos||3.2 (data provided as of April 24, 2020)|
|Curry||5 (data provided as of April 24, 2020)|
|Douglas||2.5 (data provided as of April 24, 2020)|
|Grant||1||0 but in process of hiring 1|
|Jackson||4 on call||39 trained on call|
|Lane||8||18 staff that could be deployed full time; 15 FTE community volunteers (30 by next week) and about 15 FTE students in UO contract|
|Linn||3 (data provided as of April 24, 2020)|
|Multnomah||34 plus 19 part-time||10|
|North Central Public Health District (Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam Counties).||2||3|
|Union||3||2 plus 2 in hiring process|
|Wallowa||Public Health services provided by OHA||Public Health services provided by OHA|
- Case investigators generally can perform contact tracing.
- OHA’s contact tracing and case investigation surge staff are not included in this table.