Door-to-Door COVID-19 Testing Coming to Hermiston This Weekend

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A team of health experts from Oregon State University will be in Hermiston on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26 to provide free door-to-door testing as part of a statewide effort to determine the prevalence of coronavirus.

The Team-Based Rapid Assessment of Community Level Coronavirus Epidemics (TRACE) acts in coordination with OSU, the Oregon Health Authority, and the Umatilla County Health Department. It has previously been deployed in Corvallis, Bend and Newport to gather broad data about the spread of coronavirus.

The door-to-door testing comes after a pair of outbreaks at two of Hermiston’s largest employers.

This week, the Oregon Health Authority reported an outbreak of 23 cases of COVID-19 at the Walmart Distribution Center in Umatilla County. The case count includes all persons linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts to an employee. The investigation started on June 30, but the initial case count was below the threshold for public disclosure, which is at least five in a workplace with at least 30 employees. State and county public health officials are working together to address the outbreak and protect the health of workers.

That follows a recent outbreak at the Lamb Weston plant in Hermiston where as many as 142 people tested positive for coronavirus. That was the third-largest outbreak in the state of Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

The French fry plant closed for several weeks beginning in June before re-opening at limited capacity.

This weekend, trained field staff with OSU and OHA credentials will visit randomly selected households in Hermiston and ask for participation. At each house, all members of the household will be invited to participate in the optional study.

Those who choose to participate will be asked to fill out a consent form and answer a few confidential health-related questions. The less-invasive nasal swab test is self-administered inside the home and the field staff will wait outside. Once completed, the test kits are to be left at the front door.

Results will be available and sent to residents by secure e-mail or by standard mail in about 10 days. Information gathered from the tests in Hermiston will be used to determine the prevalence of the disease among those who aren’t showing symptoms.

Hermiston officials said TRACE and this weekend’s event are not affiliated with the city of Hermiston, and no city resources are being used in this effort. City officials, however, said they are sharing this information to help improve participation and the validity of the results.

For more information, visit the TRACE website.

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