COVID-19 testing and contact tracing update

To: OSU Faculty and Staff

From: Dan Larson, Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Dear OSU Employees,

I write to share important COVID-19- related updates and information items for you.

Holiday Testing Program: As you make plans to travel and/or gather with friends and families, please consider taking measures to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 - Limit your exposure by wearing face coverings, keep distancing from others, wash your hands frequently, and limit the size of your gatherings.

We encourage you to enroll in TRACE OSU to take part in weekly testing opportunities. To encourage enrollment, during the week of Nov. 23, TRACE-OSU will invite all employees who are enrolled in TRACE-OSU to be tested. Additionally, Project Baseline, a community-based testing initiative, is offering anyone a free COVID-19 test at drugstores in Oregon, Washington, California and other select states. While a negative test result does not confirm you are free of the virus and are not infectious, testing is an added precaution that can help inform decisions on how to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. In the week following Thanksgiving, TRACE-OSU will invite all employees who are enrolled in TRACE-OSU to be tested.

Given the likelihood that students who currently live in the Corvallis and Bend areas will be traveling to other communities for the holidays, OSU will invite all students to obtain a free test the week of Nov. 16. In the coming days, all students will receive an invitation and QR code to use at a TRACE OSU testing site. Please encourage students to be tested.

Contact Tracing: In close partnership with Benton County Health Department, OSU is doubling its contact tracing staff in Student Health Services to assist the county in rapidly responding to known cases. This investment will help determine cases of close contact exposure quickly so that those who may have been exposed to the virus can take the necessary precautions to stop any further spread. Please take time to understand how the contact tracing process works and be sure to answer any calls from contact tracers. More information on contact tracing, and what to expect when contacted, may be found here.

Exposure Notification Pilot: OSU is working with the State of Oregon and Oregon Health Authority to pilot new mobile technology to alert OSU community members when they have been exposed to someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19. If you receive an exposure notification, you will have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 test through TRACE-OSU. The technology is built with privacy as a primary consideration and is fully voluntary. Details about the technology, the pilot, and how to participate will be sent via email early next week. Protect our community by adding your phone to participate in this technology.

Wishing you all good health!

Dan Larson

Coronavirus Response Coordinator
Vice Provost for Student Affairs