OHA will report large COVID-19 outbreaks in workplaces

The Oregon Health Authority will begin publically reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in workplaces with five or more COVID-19 cases, according to a press release sent by the OHA Thursday night. The change is based on a directive from Patrick Allen, the agency’s head.

The only exception to the new policy would be if disclosing the workplace would identify a specific individual or a reporting source.

The OHA said reporting any public health investigation needs to balance public health and safety, the need to ensure the public’s cooperation and patient privacy. But Allen said the COVID-19 pandemic demands rethinking how the OHA accomplishes necessary tasks.

“OHA believes a consistent, transparent statewide approach to reporting COVID-19 cases in workplaces will give Oregonians more information to help people avoid the risks of COVID-19 infections,” Allen said. “We want to ensure employers, workers and customers know the same criteria will apply, no matter where they work or what businesses they support, everywhere in Oregon.”

The OHA will publish information about workplace outbreaks that involve five or more people on its COVID-19 website.

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