PPPM’s Ben Clark Talks to The New Yorker about Oregon COVID-19 Testing

June 17, 2020

picture of test tubes

Ben Clark, an associate professor in the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management, recently spoke to The New Yorker and The Oregonian about the findings in the recently published white paper “The Roadmap to Keeping Oregon Open Part I: Establishing the COVID-19 Capacity for Testing and Contact Tracing Required to Keep the State Safe and Open.”

Clark, who coauthored the paper with UO Institute for Policy Research and Engagement Director Robert Parker (who retires in July) and the Director of the UO Oregon Economic Forum Tim Duy, explained that Oregon’s testing abilities are still insufficient. Picture of Benjamin Clark at a desk

“By his team’s estimate, the state’s required capacity for contact tracing is roughly half of what the National Association of County and City Health Officials recommends. Testing and tracing, health experts say, is crucial to any kind of reopening plan. ‘If you do more of one, then you’re going to realize you need more of the other,’ Clark said,” The New Yorker reported.

Clark told The Oregonian that tests should eventually increase to 65,000 a day in conjunction with more contact tracing, which could cost an estimated $150 million to $800 million a year.

“This is the best investment that the state can make,” Clark said.

Read more about Clark’s research in The New Yorker article “How the Coronavirus Exacerbated Oregon’s Bitter Political Divide” and in The Oregonian article “How many contact tracers are battling coronavirus in Oregon right now? State can’t say.”