By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) is launching a new online testing platform, Crush the Curve, powered by Qualtrics, which focuses on three steps: assess, test and contact trace. The assessment, testing and contact tracing solution will streamline OCCHD’s COVID-19 testing process.
Beginning September 1, individuals can access the assessment and schedule their COVID-19 test and receive results through the TESTOKC.com website.
The COVID-19 online assessment includes daily monitoring of symptomatic individuals; case management to follow up, monitor, and manage individuals for continued risk; and aggregated data to inform key decisions such as testing site locations and mitigation measures such as masks ordinances and social distancing guidelines for specific communities.
“Deploying an online platform will streamline the process for individuals wanting to be tested for COVID-19 here in Oklahoma County,” said Dr. Patrick McGough, DNP, executive director of OCCHD.
“Through this online assessment, individuals will be able to schedule their COVID-19 test online and receive their results through the same platform,” McGough added.
Additionally, OCCHD will streamline its contact tracing process through the platform, where the sharing of contact and location information from confirmed positive cases will help reduce the spread of the virus.
Individuals will answer questions to determine current risk factors, including their health, any recent travel, place of employment, and possible exposure to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, in an effort to control the spread, public health experts still recommend that all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 individuals be tested.
“Efficient contact tracing is key to keeping our economy open,” Dr. McGough stressed. “The quicker confirmed cases can begin isolating, the quicker we can slow the spread of the virus and begin realizing some normalcy in returning to the things we all miss, such as interacting in large groups and supporting our economy through dining at restaurants and visiting entertainment venues.”
Personal health information from positive cases will not be shared with contacts at any time, and the tracing portion of the online program is opt-in. However those who do not respond will still receive a phone call from a contact tracing investigator.
The online health assessment can be accessed through the testokc.com website, which is available now.
The website also includes links and contact information to other free COVID-19 testing sites in Oklahoma County, not affiliated with the Qualtrics platform.
Oklahoma County residents can still call the OCCHD COVID-19 hotline at 405-425-4489 with questions about COVID-19, however tests will no longer be scheduled through the hotline.
To learn more about the Qualtrics COVID-19 solutions, visit qualtrics.com/HereToHelp.
The Oklahoma City-County Health Department and the Tulsa Health Department (THD) have announced that residents can receive same or next day appointments for COVID-19 tests at the health department testing operations in each city.
“Across the country, demand for COVID-19 testing has slowed in the past couple of weeks,” said LT Knighten, public information officer for OCCHD. “We want to remind individuals the tests provided by OCCHD are free and result turnaround time is approximately 24-48 hours currently.”
Utilizing both public and private laboratories, results for Tulsa Health Department testing operations are received within three business days, depending on lab capacity.
Both health departments stress testing as critical to identifying the impact of the virus on their communities.
“We encourage individuals who are experiencing symptoms, or who think they’ve been in contact with a confirmed positive case to be tested,” said Knighten. “Adequate testing ensures we’re able to effectively trace cases and quarantine impacted individuals before they spread the virus.”
The CDC states the following individuals should get tested for COVID-19:
- People who have symptoms of COVID-19
- People who have had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with someone with confirmed COVID-19
- People who have been asked or referred to get testing by their healthcare provider, local or state health department.
Across the state, an average of 1,400 individuals receive their COVID-19 test from a local county health department each day.
“The Tulsa Health Department offers specimen collection for COVID-19 testing in north and south Tulsa to provide convenient access for community residents,” said Leanne Stephens, public information officer for THD. “There is no cost for testing, and it’s easy to quickly make an appointment.”
Individuals needing a test in Oklahoma County can schedule a test through OCCHD’s Crush the Curve website beginning Sept. 1 at testokc.com. In Tulsa County, call 918-582-9355.
Established in 1910, Oklahoma City-County Health Department was one of the first public health departments in the nation to receive accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board. For more information, visit occhd.org.
The Tulsa Health Department, established in 1950, serves as the primary public health agency to more than 600,000 Tulsa County residents, including 13 municipalities and four unincorporated areas. To learn more, visit tulsa-health.org.
For a list of other county testing sites, click here.