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OHSU adjusts low-barrier test sites for COVID-19

First two hours daily will be reserved for priority groups
a masked, gloved and gowned female health care worker leans down toward a car window with a cotton swab
OHSU, which provides the only two low-barrier testing sites in the Portland metro area, is dedicating the first two hours to priority groups during periods of high demand. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Oregon Health & Science University provides the only two low-barrier testing sites available to anyone who meets testing criteria for COVID-19 in the Portland metro area. As such, people have experienced long wait times.

Beginning Monday, Dec. 7, the OHSU Health Testing and Vaccination Sites will reserve the first two hours of the day for OHSU Health patients and certain groups. OHSU Health’s Hillsboro and Oregon Convention Center sites continue to be important low barrier COVID-19 testing sites for the public, and because of the increasing prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, hundreds of people per day visit each of the sites.

Although the sites provide access for all Oregonians, they also serve as the primary testing locations for OHSU patients, including dependents of OHSU employees and patients assigned to OHSU through an integrated care delivery system serving people on Medicaid. The current surge in COVID-19 cases necessitates improved access for patients within the OHSU network.

Changing our criteria for the priority lane – which has existed for pre-procedure patients all along – will allow OHSU Health to meet the needs of its patients while still serving as a public resource for Oregonians seeking testing. During high-volume periods, the first two hours of testing will be dedicated to:

  • First responders, including police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
  • OHSU Health patients (includes OHSU, Hillsboro Medical Center, and Adventist Health Portland patients who have been seen by primary or specialty providers in the past two years).
  • Household members of OHSU Health employees.

OHSU will bill insurance for those who have it, but no one is turned away as long as they meet Oregon Health Authority criteria for a test. In fact, by hosting these low-barrier testing sites, OHSU has provided free tests to more than 6,000 uninsured patients since the earliest days of the pandemic in Oregon.

Notably, OHSU patients include those who are commercially insured along with those covered by other forms of insurance. For example, approximately 60% of all OHSU patients are covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

OHSU is actively working to expand testing through expanded hours at the testing sites and is also formulating plans for additional pop-up mobile testing sites.

For people other than first responders,  OHSU patients or household member of OHSU Health employees, the Oregon Health Authority has established a website that may have options that don’t require long waits:

OHSU mobile site testing locations:

  • OHSU Health is offering coronavirus tests at the two following locations:

    • Hillsboro Stadium – 4450 NE Century Blvd, Hillsboro, OR 97124
      • Hours (note that wait times may vary depending on demand, and sites may close early):
        • Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
        • Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 
    • Oregon Convention Center – 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, OR 97232 (enter on Lloyd Boulevard into parking garage A). Note that flu shots are also being offered at this site.
      • Hours (note that wait times may vary depending on demand, and sites may close early):
        • Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
        • Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
        • Starting Monday, Jan. 11, hours will be Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Who can get tested?

Note: If you are a Kaiser, Legacy or Providence patient, you will be directed to those health care systems.

  • Those with symptoms: People older than 2 months can be tested if they have one or more of the following:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Trouble breathing
    • Or at least two of the following symptoms:
      • Fever
      • Chills
      • Repeated shaking with chills
      • Muscle pain
      • Headache
      • Sore throat
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Nausea / vomiting
      • Diarrhea
  • Those without symptoms: People without symptoms can get tested if they meet any of the following:
    • They are giving birth, or they are having surgery or another qualifying procedure at OHSU.
    • They have a vulnerable immune system and are following steps to end isolation (tested positive at least 14 days ago AND have not had any symptoms for 14 days).
    • They have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • A public health department has required them to get tested for contact tracing.
    • One or more of the following
      • The person is a migrant/seasonal agricultural worker.
      • The person is Black, African-American, Latinx, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Asian-American or Pacific Islander.
      • The person has a disability.
      • English is not the person's first language.
  • In addition: 
    • People without symptoms who test negative will not be able to get a repeat test for at least seven days.
    • OHSU is no longer testing people who previously tested positive until 90 days after they were first diagnosed. 

OHSU’s testing criteria follow Oregon Health Authority and CDC recommendations. Guidelines may change at any time based on updated recommendations.

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