Health care systems are adapting to Omicron surge

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore.— The current Covid-19 surge is straining resources and putting health care employees on high alert.

Asante and Valley Immediate Care say they’re being inundated with patients.

“Since the beginning of December we’ve seen our numbers of Covid positive patients rise by double,” Asante spokesperson, Lauren Van Sickle, said.

She says at the start of the month, the hospital was seeing around 28 people admitted because of Covid-19 but today there were 62 patients.

Valley Immediate Care says it’s seeing a similar situation with the number of people getting tested.

“We’re seeing an overwhelming number of patients right now,” Brent Kell, CEO of Valley Immediate Care said.

In fact, the number is so high, the urgent care clinic is shutting down its Ashland location to focus its efforts on busier ones.

“[We’re] restaffing and reinforcing [our] south Medford, Central Point, and north Medford locations, and trying to make the maximum use of the staff we have,” Kell said. 

Not only is the VIC seeing an increase in the number of people getting tested, but it’s also seeing an increase in the number of people testing positive.

Kell says in the last three days, there’s been a dramatic increase from around 3% to 4% of people testing positive to 14-15%. He says on Wednesday the positivity rate was up to 20%.

Van Sickle says the numbers are worrisome. At Rogue Regional Medical Center, many elective surgeries have either been canceled or rescheduled. She says healthcare professionals are continuing to ask the question, ‘What happens if hospitals run out of room?’

“We continue to look for places where we can put beds whether that’s the hallway, the lobby, god forbid the cafeteria,” Van Sickle said. “Those are all things we’re looking at. Where will we be able to put people who need care?”


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Blakely McHugh is co-anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and spokesperson for In This Together, a suicide prevention initiative. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA. Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors. Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “hi!”
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