St. Charles caregivers trained as contact tracers to support local public health departments
BEND, Ore. – To help slow the spread of COVID-19 and support Central Oregon’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, St. Charles Health System is offering to help public health departments in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties with contact tracing.
Six St. Charles community health educators from family care clinics in Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond have taken the Oregon Health Authority’s online training to call people who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and provide guidance and support.
Contact tracing is a key component of Gov. Kate Brown’s plans to safely reopen Oregon. Ensuring adequate contact tracing, she said, will allow the state’s public health system to effectively identify and treat new cases of COVID-19, trace contacts to identify those at risk of infection and contain new outbreaks before community spread can occur.
But the governor’s plan for active surveillance calls for an additional 600 paid and volunteer contact tracers. That’s where St. Charles saw an opportunity to help.
“Throughout this pandemic, our health system has been buoyed by an outpouring of community support,” said Dr. Jim Guyn, senior vice president of population health. “Offering some of our caregivers to help with contact tracing felt like one way we could give back to Central Oregon. We want people to stay well and for local businesses to stay open.”
Starting this week, the St. Charles community health educators are ready to offer assistance to Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson county public health departments with their contact tracing efforts as needed.
About St. Charles Health System
St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 4,200 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.