File photo: Chas Hundley

With cases of omicron skyrocketing, the Oregon Health Authority is taking a new approach to tracking new Covid-19 infections. 

Investigators are no longer trying to call those who test positive for the coronavirus. State and county health departments have been using such calls to trace exposures and provide quarantine information.

Now, it’s created a website for people to get information about what to do if they test positive and established a hotline.

The hotline – 866-917-8881 – is staffed Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The efforts coincide with skyrocketing cases. On Wednesday, the health authority reported that another 8,760 Oregonians had become infected; that compares with 1,760 on Jan. 1.

Health officials advise those who test positive to quarantine at home for five days as soon as symptoms emerge to avoid infecting others. The health authority advises them not to go out while they have a fever – and without the help of medicine. Those who test positive but don’t have symptoms should be isolated for five days, the health authority said.

After the five days, the agency said people can venture out, but they should wear a mask for another five days.

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The hotline is designed to advise people about quarantining, telling people you’ve tested positive and other health information.

The health authority has included a survey on the website, which is in English, Spanish and Russian. Interpreters are available to help speakers of other languages. The information will be kept confidential, with the aim of closing “health equity gaps for disproportionately affected groups.”

“We share anonymous aggregate data on our dashboards and in reports,” the authority said.

This story originally appeared in the Oregon Capital Chronicle and is republished here under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. Read more stories at oregoncapitalchronicle.com.