Health officials urge community to aid COVID-19 contact tracing

Lane County Public Health officials said that the goal is to contact an individual within 24 hours to begin contact tracing.

Posted: Nov 17, 2020 6:17 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- With COVID-19 cases rising quickly, community members have many lingering questions, from how to know if they’ve been exposed to wondering if there’s a backlog in hearing from officials.

Lane County Public Health said that the goal is to contact an individual within 24 hours to begin contact tracing. This is a process designed to identify people who might be sick or to let someone know that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

“Once the contact tracing process begins, please do be forthright,” spokesman Jason Davis said. “This information is not used for any other purposes other than health purposes. We do not share it with any other governmental entity.”

He said many people are afraid to share where they have been or who they have been around.

There are a few different challenges that officials are running into. One is that many people do not answer the phone, even after multiple attempts. Also, he said sometimes the county is given incorrect information. Plus, some believe they have been exposed and wait for a call that’s not coming.

“We're going to be doing the best we can,” Davis said. “If our community can contribute to that effort by picking up the phone, at least answering it and having the conversation with the individual given by, especially for it’s a 682 or 681 number.”

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Davis said that the county is rotating new staff, as well.

The goal remains to inform anyone who’s been exposed in the most timely way possible.

“With COVID, there’s a lot of unexpected twists and turns with how the disease manifests itself,” Davis said. “Just when you start to see a pattern, you see an outlier in that pattern.”

The Lane County Non-Emergency Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 541-682-1380.

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