PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced at the end of December that Oregon ordered 12 million COVID-19 tests to be distributed to public health authorities, schools and community organizations.
State health officials gave an update on the status of the tests on Wednesday.
As of Jan. 10, the state had received 542,970 test kits, which is a total of 1,085,940 tests, as there is two per kit.
So far, the tests have been distributed to a number of health authorities and hospitals, OHA said.
OHA is expecting another four to five shipments of tests this week, totaling 700,000-900,000 kits. Health officials have yet to release where the rest of the shipments will be distributed.
OHA expects to receive all 6 million kits (12 million total tests) by early February, which was its initial timeline when it announced that kits had been ordered.
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While OHA said that the kits should all arrive in the state by early February as anticipated, the supply chain for rapid tests is backlogged and demand is high across the country.
The demand for testing has skyrocketed locally and nationally with test shortages at retail stores and limited appointment options for those seeing them from health care providers and public health agencies. OHA used curative.com to show the available same-day appointments in the Portland area. You can search your area for available appointments and book online here.
OHA said in an emailed statement to KGW that 95% of the tests that have been delivered have been allocated to health care workers and K-12 workers to help keep schools and hospitals open.
It said its first priority was keeping hospitals staffed and the testing kits will help that goal. The second priority is to keep children safe and in in-person instruction. Despite that goal, several Portland-area schools have shifted to temporarily distance learning, largely due to COVID-related staffing shortages. The same is being seen in Vancouver, though they are not under the Oregon Health Authority’s jurisdiction. The schools’ closings, though temporary, are indicative of how the omicron wave is impacting Oregon. It has already caused the state to crush its record for single-day cause counts – twice.
OHA said that distribution to community partners serving vulnerable populations will happen as soon as supply allows.