As explained in detail several times last year, smart phone-based, Bluetooth-based contact tracing apps were never likely to be useful.
Effectively with this announcement today, Oregon has abandoned it’s smart phone contact tracing apps, joining half the US states that chose to not pursue these apps.
Oregon pausing exposure notification app
This week, OHA decided to pause the ongoing planning of the Exposure Notification (EN) application project rollout for Oregon to focus on vaccinations and other priority efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past six months, OHA has benefited from discussions with local public health departments and other partners, which highlighted the benefits and costs of any early notification app, including the intensive efforts state and local health officials would need to undertake to promote the app and address likely gaps in its adoption across Oregon’s diverse communities, as well as the added contact tracing demands full adoption would place on county public health staff.
OHA appreciates the feedback agency staff heard from our partners working in local communities. State health officials reached the decision after consultation with Gov. Kate Brown’s office.
OHA Public Health Director Rachael Banks said: “Approximately two dozen states have chosen not to deploy smartphone-based apps at this time and instead to rely on other tools to stop the spread of COVID-19. Oregon is focused on building trust with people in communities across the state to get all Oregonians vaccinated and sustain the other COVID-19 prevention practices, such as wearing a mask, staying physically distant and limiting the size and frequency of indoor social get-togethers. These strategies have prevented more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in our state. We’ll continue to prioritize these approaches because they remain our best bet to end the pandemic.”