Covid-19 surge impacts local hospitals, healthcare workers

MEDFORD, Ore. — “It’s scary stuff,” said Thomas Hottman, spokesperson for Sky Lakes Medical Center.

Southern Oregon hospitals are feeling the impact as Covid-19 cases hit record highs, impacting staff both physically and emotionally.

“It’s something as a community as a society we have to deal with. And it’s not easy,” said Hottman.

For the first time ever, Hottman says Sky Lakes Medical Center’s Covid-19 isolation room hit full capacity on Tuesday.

That prompting the hospital to open a second isolation unit to meet the increased demand.

“We’re not near overwhelmed, but there’s always that worry,” he said. “When the county numbers are five dozen posted yesterday and 160 last week, some of those people are going to become infected and going to need hospitalization.”

Providence Medford’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Kuhl says available beds were running low last week.

Some non-emergency surgeries had to be postponed.

“If we have to move into other beds that are not necessarily a designated isolation room we’re able to do that… but it definitely is not ideal,” said Dr. Kuhl.

The workload, taking a toll on health care workers.

“It’s a fair statement to say the staff is tired. It’s been one heck of a year,” he said.

Although the medical professionals know a vaccine is on the horizon, it’s the here and now that’s the worry.

“I remain pretty worried about next week with the holidays and people potentially not practicing social distancing,” said Dr. Kuhl.

“I just worry that it’s eventually going to catch up with us all and that’s a concern,” said Hottman.

Health care workers want to remind you to wear a mask, observe social distancing, and avoid large gatherings.

They say it’s a small sacrifice, but it can make a big difference.

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