CHI Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg is one of two hospitals in Southern Oregon that is participating in the COVID-19 Surveillance in Oregon program.

The Oregon Health Authority is working with emergency rooms and urgent care clinics in Oregon to gather information about the number of COVID-19 infections in the state as quickly as possible.

Emergency room workers at Mercy will conduct random tests to collect 15 samples each week from asymptomatic patients who may be infected but don’t show any symptoms.

Should they agree to participate, patients will not be charged for the test.

“If you agree to join, you will be swabbed for COVID-19 for free,” said Kathleen Nickel, director of communications at Mercy. “If you do not want to join, there is no penalty and you will receive the same care you otherwise would have for your visit.”

Swabs are being collected for COVID-19 testing from patients who might have the disease and from other patients who are being seen for different reasons.

OHA will provide the facilities and publish a patient education flyer concerning the surveillance program.

“Tests must still be sent out, with the results typically available within one week or less,” Nickel said.

The tests will go to the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory in Hillsboro to be processed.

OHA officials said the testing will help them understand just how much COVID-19 is in the state and how many people may be infected without symptoms.

Positive results will be reported to the Douglas Public Health Network for follow up and contact tracing. Patients with positive results will be asked to isolate until 72 hours after their fever and cough have vanished.

If patients are asymptomatic, they will be asked to quarantine until seven days following their test date.

In addition to providing educational flyers, providers are encouraged to review all information with the patient.

The OHA plans to continue surveillance enhancement activities, initially, for 52 weeks through week 18 of 2021, and may be extended as needed.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

(25) comments


Mercy Medical Center received an Abbott ID NOW coronavirus test machine May 12. The Abbott machines can process coronavirus tests in under 15 minutes, allowing for quick results instead of waiting a day or longer through traditional lab testing. However, each device can process only a few dozen tests a day.

If these machines are capable of processing 24 tests per day, why isn’t Mercy testing more than 2 people per day randomly?

because the federal gvt sent limited testing supplies for the machine.


Good to know.


Gilberto's is another restaurant in Roseburg violating the governor's order by allowing customers to dine-in. Open the floodgates.


Douglas County announced today it has received a mere 17 coronavirus test results which makes it a total of 42 test results over the past three days. In their application to the governor to reopen Douglas County, our commissioners claim Douglas County has the average ability to test 210 people per day, though it has never demonstrated even half of that number.

The governor deemed reopening of counties must be done on a regional basis. Douglas County is included with Curry, Coos, Jackson, Josephine and Lane counties in one region which has had 12 new coronavirus cases over the past nine days.

With the exception of Curry County (with 4 coronavirus cases), Douglas County’s testing of 1.3% of its residents is lowest in its region.


Contrary to the recommendations of Douglas County Public Health Officer Dr. Dannenhoffer, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, bluntly testified today before a Senate Committee of “really serious consequences of suffering, death and deeper economic damage if state and local officials lift stay-at-home orders too quickly.”

15 per week. Why why they aren't going to test far more? They could do 15 in an hour at least in the hospital.

Chris Boice

We are testing every patient from every medical facility that shows any type of symptom. We only had 15 to test and none of them were positive. Do you get that? We have been testing every person who shows symptoms in the entire county had have no new contractions in over a month!


Considering 50% of people infected with coronavirus are contagious but have NO symptoms, how are you identifying and isolating these carriers with NO symptoms? Do you get that?


Commissioner Boice,

According to DPHN's website, the last new Douglas County coronavirus case was 12 days ago on May 1. It was NOT "no new contractions in over a month."

As our county elected leader, most would expect you to provide accurate information without the spin you'd like to see. Do you get that?

Chris Boice

Mike, the last case reported contracted when it was reported, in fact the person was recovered before their test even cam back. Also they contracted the virus in another county. You know, I've been doing this for quite a while now and there is nothing worse than someone who can write well enough to sound intelligent when they actually have no idea what they are talking about. Just make stuff up that sounds good, or misunderstand the truth completely because you only have part of the information and call those that have all of the information liars... it really does nothing but helps to misinform those few who choose to believe it.


Commissioner Boice,

Words have meaning. Please point to where I called you a “liar.” You can’t, because I never wrote or said that, no matter how you want to twist it. However, I can point to where you have written that I am a “liar,” among many other names you’ve called me in writing and over our one phone call.

Your comment is a subdued version of the scolding you gave me over the phone on March 27, the first and only time we've ever spoke. You didn’t know anything about me or bother to care before launching into your diatribe that I didn’t know what I was talking about and similarly accused me of numerous things. And that’s after you asked me to call you.

I don’t care how long you’ve been a commissioner. The way you treated me the first time we spoke and what you did afterwards is incomprehensible at minimum and just plain ugly. You are nothing more than a bully to anyone who offers their input or questions your decisions.

You probably don’t realize there indeed is something worse than someone who can write well enough to sound intelligent. What’s worse is an ego-driven and arrogant elected official who claims to have all the answers without bothering to listen to the input of others and who feels he has the right to degrade people they don’t know and have never spoken with before. If you don’t like what I write, look no further than yourself and your malicious treatment of others as the reason.

The below link to the DPHN daily updates indicates the last new coronavirus case in Douglas County occurred on May 1.

Thank you for clarification, DPHN has done an incredible job and we are thankful for everyone's efforts. We read in the Oregonian that Mercy was getting a Rapid Test unit before the News Review published it, so then it made sense where the amount comes from. Our comment wasn't meant to be critical, it was an honest question.


The Douglas County Public Health Network just published their daily update on their website (below link) and issued their daily email update. Random testing at Mercy Medical Center is NOT mentioned in either.

Its surprising random testing at Mercy Medical Center isn’t mentioned considering Commissioner Boice told me only 14,000 people in Douglas County subscribe to the NRToday and over 23,000 people get “his” emails? Good thing at least some of us have the NRToday to get coronavirus testing news our commissioners deem unworthy for the public.


Random door-to-door random testing started in Corvallis on April 19 (almost a month ago) to provide an accurate estimate of infection rates in the college town of about 60,000 people. Shouldn’t everyone be asking why Douglas County wasn’t doing this a month ago.


Governor Brown announced a major partnership last week with Oregon Health & Science University for widespread random testing across the state, a program called "Be the Key," with a goal of 100,000 volunteers, with invitations sent out on May 11 by letter.


The entire pandemic and the state as well as the federal response baffles me...wish we had a government that I feel like I could trust.


It baffles me that this is just now starting and our county leadership is pushing to open back up. Why wasn't this being done WEEKS ago?


Very good question. It's almost like our county leaders initially didn't want there to be any coronavirus cases and the best way to assure that was to avoid testing people. Could that be why DPHN received only 13 test results yesterday and 12 the day before?

Isn't it likely our commissioners' application to reopen Douglas county has been rejected and our leaders now realize their "no test" strategy has backfired? Now they must actually PROVE to the governor that Douglas County cases are low in order to receive permission to reopen. Hence, the random testing residents were screaming for weeks ago.

Chris Boice

No Mike, it isn't likely at all, but it's a great conspiracy theory!!


Commissioner Boice,

Was it likely or was it a conspiracy theory when our commissioners sought reimbursements without filling out expense forms. Was it a conspiracy theory that commissioners campaign donors disposed of $50,000 of garbage in the dump for free. Was it a conspiracy theory that commissioners appointed people to select county committees immediately after those same commissioners received $1,000 campaign contributions. Was it a conspiracy theory commissioners addressed coronavirus by telling the public, “there is no call for social distancing…there is no call to close events…people should go about their lives…this virus, like most viruses, will cycle through and we’ll move on to the next thing.”

Douglas County has tested fewer than 31 people per day over the past month. However, yesterday Douglas County received 98 test results. Was it coincidence the testing rate skyrocketed?

"Your" application to the governor to reopen Douglas County claims our county has the ability to test an average of 210 people per day. Considering 50% of coronavirus cases are contagious but show no symptoms, how do you justify testing so few people? Or is this all a conspiracy theory too?

Chris Boice

Hey Mike, we got an approval from the Goevrnor last night. And yes, ALL of those other things are conspiracies, misinformation or outright lies. If you cared about the truth I could prove it.


OK, prove it.


Still waiting for your proof.

Oregon ER doctors are reporting there is still a serious shortage of PPE.

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