Omicron surges across Oregon, OHA responds with tests and tools

MEDFORD, Ore. — A mandate that would have impacted nearly 80-million U.S. workers was blocked by the Supreme Court on Thursday. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two decisions. In the first, it blocked a mandate requiring businesses with over 100 employees to ensure everyone is vaccinated or tested regularly in a 6-3 vote. However, a 5-4 vote ruled that a vaccine mandate for 20 million healthcare workers who treat Medicare and Medicaid patients and receive federal funding can be enforced.

These rulings come as Omicron cases are exploding across the country and in the state. “For the week ending January 9, Oregon recorded an astounding 47,272 cases, which is three times higher than the previous pandemic records and six times higher than was reported just two weeks ago,” said Oregon Health Director Patrick Allen.

The surge — pushing many more people to get tested. But tests are hard to come by in retail stores and online.

“Oregon’s testing volume has never been higher, and our testing volume will only increase as millions of at-home rapid antigen tests we purchased continue to arrive in our state,” said Director Allen. The Curative testing site in downtown Medford said via email, it couldn’t provide testing from January 12th – 14th due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

If you get tested and come back positive, the OHA is launching new resources for reporting and support. “The Oregon Health Authority announced a new website and hotline (866-917-8881) as a way for people who test positive for the virus to report results for an at-home test kit or testing provider,” said Director Allen.

It’s also shifting its guidelines, focusing less on contact tracing and more on outbreaks in high-risk settings. Jackson County Public Health is following suit.

Providence responding to the surge in cases by telling patients they may experience delays when calling, during visits, and while waiting on MyChart messages.

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