JaCo/JoCo sees highest hospitalization numbers during pandemic

SOUTHERN Ore. —Asante shattering its previous record, for Covid-19 hospitalizations Monday, and they’re asking for your help. With Covid-19 cases continuing to skyrocket at an alarming rate in southern Oregon, hospitals are in a state of crisis right now.

“We’ve hit an all-time high,” said Asante Spokesperson, Lauren Van Sickle.

In early July, Asante was averaging around 8-10 Covid patients a day. Monday morning, it has 107 Covid positive patients in its three hospitals. It’s never been this high during the pandemic.

“The patients we’re seeing are younger, they’re sicker, and the onset of symptoms and the severity of symptoms are a lot worse,” said Van Sickle.

Asante says 90% of its patients are unvaccinated. At the start of the pandemic, older adults were most impacted by the disease, which for some results in few symptoms, and in others can lead to severe ones, even death. Asante says it’s now seeing patients ranging in age from 20 years old to 101.

“Covid doesn’t know what age you are it has a potential to infect you regardless of your age,” said Van Sickle.

This graph from the Oregon Health Authority goes back to May of 2020. It shows the drastic increase in hospitalizations over time in Jackson and Josephine county. As of Monday morning, there were 119 hospitalized Covid-19 patients in the counties.

“This is the highest we’ve seen in Region 5 in southern Oregon, we’ve surpassed our prior record numbers by about 75 Covid related hospitalizations last week,” said Chief Medical Officer with Providence Medford Medical Center, Jason Kuhl.

Kuhl says it has seen been averaging numbers in the high teens. It says for a facility its size, that’s high.

“I think we are sounding the alarm as we speak,” said Kuhl.

With the large uptick, Providence is running into staffing shortages.

“We have reached out to travelers for nursing support as well as looking to have some of our clinic physicians to help our in-patient units because we are running into those staffing shortages,” said Kuhl.

Both hospitals stressing the importance of vaccination, to keep both yourself and others around you safe. Hospitals say it’s best to get your Covid-19 test or vaccine at your local clinic or pharmacy. Avoid the hospital unless it’s an emergency.

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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