Oregon hospitals prepare for influx amid virus spike


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Governor Kate Brown said Oregon is headed on the ‘wrong road’ as cases spike and health officials prepare for a possible influx of COVID patients.

“Our fears that the virus would spread out of control when the colder months set it is certainly becoming a reality,” Governor Brown said during a press conference on Tuesday.

She said that hospital capacity was becoming a concern despite current availability.

“When people become ill, we need to ensure there are enough hospital beds, PPE and staff to provide care,” she said.

“Oregon is headed on the wrong road,” she said. “It’s not too late to do the right thing.”

OHA’s chief medical officer Dana Hargunani said there was been an 83% increase in hospitalized patients over the last four weeks in the state, with a 57% increase in the Portland metro area.

There are over 100 ICU beds, and 700 regular hospital beds currently available in the state. Hargunani said there are also plenty of ventilators available.

“There are limitations to what Oregon’s healthcare system can handle. Even with regional planning and the hard work of all of our hospital partners, we cannot handle ever growing high daily case counts and widespread hospitalizations. The system is flexible and has capacity, but only to a point,” Hargunani said.

771 cases new cases and three new deaths were reported on Tuesday, with 723 cases and four new deaths tallied on Monday.

This media briefing comes the day after both Washington and Clackamas Counties were added to Oregon’s “two-week pause” list in response to the rise in coronavirus cases in the region.

Brown announced Monday four more counties would be added to the group: Washington, Clackamas, Baker and Union. While on the “pause” list, counties must put a halt to social activities to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The counties on the list must “pause” from Nov. 11 through Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

According to state officials, the pause is being instituted in counties with a case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period, or more than 60 cases over a two-week period for counties with less than 30,000 people.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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