Oregon Health Authority launches next phase of pandemic response

SALEM, Ore. – As mask mandates expire, the Oregon Health Authority announced what the next phase of the state’s pandemic response will look like.

Friday, the OHA kicked off the “Resilience in Support of Equity” plan. RISE is a five-point plan focusing on “building community resilience and supporting local decision-making.”

Health officials said, “Oregon will pursue to monitor COVID-19, shield people at highest risk, reinvigorate communities and repair the state’s social fabric as public health interventions fall away over the coming months.”

The OHA said RISE’s goals are:

  • Protect communities most harmed by COVID-19, including distributing vaccines, tests and masks to people at risk in priority communities through partnerships with more than 175 local nonprofits, health clinics and other community groups.
  • Protect people most vulnerable to COVID-19, including tracking disease spread through wastewater sampling in more than 40 communities, and maintaining a baseline capacity of vaccines, treatments, testing supplies and laboratory capabilities.
  • Expand access to vital health care and support a thriving workforce, including maintaining or expanding health coverage to as many as 350,000 people, and distributing $200 million in workforce development grants.
  • Keep schools open for students, staff and families, and help students recover instructional time, including developing a communicable disease management plan to help schools open safely, manage COVID-19 outbreaks and support students’ mental health.
  • Restore social cohesion by listening to and supporting the priorities of local communities, and sharing steps people can take to protect themselves and others, including offering listening sessions and seeking input on how the state can support communities in building health resilience.

“The pandemic has become like a wildfire we’ve contained but not extinguished, and which therefore continues to pose a risk,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “RISE is a plan for managing that wildfire in a way that leverages the ability of communities to fight it at the local level, with support from Oregon’s public health system.”

The state will continue to work closely with local health agencies in responding to COVID-19.

For more details about the plan, visit https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-rise

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