State To Launch Random COVID-19 Testing Program

Oregon Governor Kate Brown says the state will launch a random COVID-19 testing program and increase contact tracing as it tries to reopen the economy.  The random testing program will be done in partnership with Oregon Health Sciences University, and involve 100,000 people.  The program is called “Be The Key,” and OHSU President Dr. Danny Jacobs says they will be sending out letters on May 11 to those they are asking to volunteer to take part.  Brown said the state has three goals:  that there is testing for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, testing must be available for individuals in vulnerable group living situations, and on-going widespread randomized testing to know where the disease might be hiding in the state.  Brown said major hospital groups have agreed to a unified approach to testing, including building partnerships with smaller rural hospitals in the state.  Dr. Dean Sidelinger said he feels like the capacity is available to reach 15,000 tests a week.  Brown also said there are plans to train 600 people to build out a team of contact tracing professionals.  Brown once again emphasized the state will take a slow approach to lifting restrictions, indicating that may start in some areas of the state as soon as May 15.

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