Update to Article: Benton County Fails Follow-up with COVID Positive OSU Student

Original Article

The Advocate reached out to Charlie Fautin, Interim Co-Director for the Benton County Health Department, regarding this story. Here is his response:  

We understand it is concerning to feel like local public health officials are not following up with identified COVID-19 cases correctly and we would like to provide some clarification regarding the original article that appeared on OPB.  

When we were initially contacted by the reporter from OPB, we shared with them that if a student tested positive, an OSU case assistant with the Student Health Center reached out to each student as soon as they got a positive test and gave them their options. They could return to their home until they are healthy, in which case they are transferred to their home county’s Health Department for contact tracing/case investigation. Or they could isolate in a designated residence hall, in which case Benton County Health Department is responsible for contact tracing/case investigation.  

Benton County Health Department investigators/contact tracers made contact with all test-positive students who either had a permanent Benton County address or who moved into OSU isolation housing.  

For test-positive students who chose to return to a home outside of Benton County – in accordance with standard Oregon public health investigation and follow-up processes – our department transferred their information and case files to the county of their home-of-record. According to the story this student returned home to Portland, so follow-up would have been transferred by BCHD to whichever metro area county they reside in.  

Unfortunately that last detail was omitted from the original OPB story. We reached out to OPB, and they have since corrected the on-line story to reflect the information above.  

Thanks for contacting us and we appreciate that it provided an opportunity to clarify the incorrect information in the original article.