LA GRANDE — More testing for COVID-19 is coming to Union County.

The Center for Human Development Inc., which oversees public health in the county, announced Friday afternoon it will expand and offer more COVID-19 testing beginning this week.

The push is to support Oregon’s plan to reopen and expand testing capacity and disease surveillance in the area, according to the press release. The center will offer testing to individuals who meet the Oregon Health Authority’s revised and expanded testing criteria.

“OHA recommends that any person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 may be tested for COVID-19,” the press release stated. “If you have one of the following: cough, shortness breath, difficulty breathing: or two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, new loss of smell or taste, or sore throat, you may be eligible for free testing.”

The center also strongly encouraged individuals in the following categories with symptoms to contact it for testing:

•Health care workers and first responders

•Residents, staff, children or others in a care facility or group living setting, such as a health care or correctional facility. When clinical laboratories have sufficient testing capacity, people in these settings without symptoms also can be considered for testing if disease clusters or outbreaks warrant.

•Workers who provide direct care or service in multiple group facilities or who provide in-home services, such as hospice care workers or occupational therapists.

•Essential front-line service workers who have regular contact with large numbers of people, such as grocery stores clerks, food service staff and delivery workers.

•Patients at least 60 years old.

•Patients with underlying medical conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and compromised immune systems.

•People who identify as Black, African-American, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, Pacific Islander or as having a disability. Data indicate these communities are at higher risk for COVID-19 and associated complications due to longstanding social and health inequities.

•People from linguistically diverse populations due to longstanding social and health inequities.

•Pregnant women.

•Patients who had contact with a suspect or lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of their symptom onset.

Anyone interested in in requesting testing should call 541-624-2179 for more information. No out-of-pocket cost or insurance required.

The center also advised individuals who feel very ill should seek appropriate care. If it is an emergency, call 911. If it is not an emergency but you feel sick enough to need a medical appointment, call your primary care provider. If you don’t have a doctor, call 211 for a list of providers near you.

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