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OSU virus testing program heads to Hermiston

OSU virus testing program heads to Hermiston

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Jeff Bethel, an associate professor in OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences and part of the COVID-19 tresting team in Newport is shown with TRACE team members. The TRACE team will be working in the Umatilla County town of Hermiston this weekend.

Oregon State University has expanded its coronavirus testing operation to include the Umatilla County city of Hermiston.

OSU will be conducting testing in Hermiston this weekend. The university received a request for assistance from the Oregon Health Authority and Umatilla County Health because of outbreaks in county workplaces.

Hermiston, the largest city in northeastern Oregon at just over 18,000 people, is the first in the area to participate in the OSU testing project, which is called Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-Level Coronavirus Epidemics (TRACE). Teams will visit 240 to 360 randomly selected residences throughout Hermiston and seek to collect as many as 400 to 500 test samples from participating city residents.

The OSU team also will analyze the wastewater in Hermiston and nearby Boardman for the presence and concentration of the coronavirus.

The TRACE program began in Corvallis the weekend of April 25-26 as a partnership between five OSU colleges and the Benton County Health Department and continued in Corvallis on three other weekends.

The study expanded to Bend for two days of sampling May 30-31 in a joint effort of OSU-Cascades, Oregon State faculty researchers in Corvallis and Deschutes County health officials, and then twice to Newport in June and July in a joint effort with Lincoln County health officials.

Umatilla County Health will be collaborating with OSU on the Hermiston testing work.

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