Future COVID-19 testing in southern Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore. — As Southern Oregon counties enter phase two of reopening, public health officials are looking at the current state of COVID-19 testing.

“We’ve really shifted our strategy from prevention to mitigation,” said Jackson County Public Health Officer Dr. Jim Shames. “We need to accept the fact that we’re going to get cases, there’s going to be spread and what we’re gonna try to do is minimize that to the extent we can.”

Dr. Shames said as more people gather in public, the more chance there is for coronavirus spread. Dr. Shames said the county has ramped up tracing capabilities and identification of cases. “Focusing on where groups of people are, by necessity, going to be coming together, and doing what we can to prevent the spread of disease and to identify the spread of the disease early.”

“This is brand new territory for everyone,” Klamath County Public Health Public Information Officer Valeree Lane said. Lane said working in tandem with public health partners has been key during the pandemic, “to ensure that everyone has fair access to testing and barriers that are knocked down.”

As reopening continues, the counties said they’re focused on keeping the community safe while also welcoming visitors. “This is the travel season and now that we’re in phase two, people might be thinking oh, I’d love to see Crater Lake,” Lane said. “Well, it’d be nice to know that they’re not bringing COVID with them when they come.”

“It’s important we open up, it’s important we go back to business but it won’t be business as usual,” Dr. Shames said. “It’s gonna be business under more stringent guidelines.” If you think you might have COVID-19, call your primary care or urgent care office so they can direct you to the best place to go.

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