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Regional Interests

As COVID cases surge in Lane County, many refuse contact tracing

A contact tracer will reach out to you if you have been infected or exposed to COVID. All information gathered is confidential and only used to learn where the virus spread and who should be notified of possible exposure.
A contact tracer will reach out to you if you have been infected or exposed to COVID. All information gathered is confidential and only used to learn where the virus spread and who should be notified of possible exposure.

Lane County is experiencing another COVID-19 surge. Health officials are concerned not only about the rise in cases but also the growing number of people refusing to comply with contact tracing efforts.

The county has reported triple digit cases for nearly a week. Based on the information from a limited sample, public health finds a majority of the new cases are variants, the Delta and UK strains.

Spokesperson Jason Davis said so far in the pandemic, we’ve not seen this kind of transmission in communities-- or the resistance to help trace exposures.

“When we contact them for more information about where they may have contracted their COVID case or who they may have passed that COVID on to. We are not getting a lot of cooperation,” said  Davis. “That obviously makes our job harder.”

Davis said any information gleaned by a contact tracer is confidential and only used limit spread of the disease. He adds public health has seen a direct correlation with case increases within the unvaccinated population and contact tracing non-compliance.

Unprecedented Hospitalization Rates

Lane County Public Health is concerned about hospital capacity as cases of coronavirus variants continue to rise. PeaceHealth RiverBend Medical Center, the region’s largest hospital, serves as a medical hub for numerous counties. Officials said beds are being filled with COVID patients—fast.

On Tuesday, Public Health reported 42 of the 60 available beds at the Springfield hospital hold residents from Douglas, Coos, Curry, Benton and Lane counties.

Officials said the current hospitalization rate is unprecedented and untenable if the surge continues unabated.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting