OHA Updates Recommendations for COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Reduces Reporting Requirements in K-12 Settings | News

The Oregon Health Authority recently released new COVID-19 contact tracing and notification recommendations for K-12 settings to help ease the overall contact tracing burden on schools across the province. K-12, while ensuring that school personnel and health officials continue to seek out and report high-risk exposures.

Under the updated guidelines, Oregon will no longer consider masked contact in K-12 environments, including school buses, as exposure, regardless of distance. The updated guidelines will strongly advise students and staff to maintain physical distancing where possible.

The new recommendations are based on accumulating evidence that layered mitigation efforts in K-12 schools have worked well to minimize transmission and that the vast majority of transmission has occurred as a result of uncontacted contact. hidden inside.

Officials say it’s a ‘common sense’ change to contact tracing and notification that will allow schools to focus resources on identifying the most high-risk, indoor and unmasked exposures. likely to result in transmission. In addition, schools will no longer be required to report negative antigen test results to the OHA. Reporting of positive antigen test results will still be required.

Schools that have used universal masking in K-12 environments will continue to perform contact tracing for exposures that occur during unmasked lunchroom encounters, as well as unmasked extracurricular encounters. The Oregon Department of Education strongly recommends that all schools immediately develop stable lunch cohorts – table groups, lunch groups, and other group situations – where it is not already the practice. If a case occurs within a lunchtime cohort, the entire lunchtime cohort group should be considered at risk. Similarly, when a case occurs in an unmasked indoor extracurricular cohort, the entire cohort can be considered exposed. Stable cohorts significantly reduce the burden of contact tracing.

During this period of very high COVID-19 transmission in Oregon, school personnel will continue to identify and report new cases among students and staff, resulting in more exposures. Exposed, fully immunized children and adults up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination series are not subject to quarantine and may continue to attend school.

Individuals exposed to COVID-19 at school remain eligible for stay testing and may continue to attend school during their modified quarantine period.

Additionally, support for members of school communities who test positive for COVID-19 can be accessed through the COVID-19 Helpline, 866-917-8881, or the Testing COVID-19 Positive website. The OHA is also identifying resources to add a school-specific support team to the hotline.

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