Oregon hospital beds running low as Covid-19 cases surge

MEDFORD, Ore. — Hospital beds running low, as the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations hits a record 285 across Oregon.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the state announced a 162 percent increase of Covid positive patients in the past week for Jackson and Josephine Counties.

“While we have plans in place to share beds and ventilators if necessary, that needs to be a last resort,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

The news, not a surprise to Jackson County Health Officer Dr. Jim Shames.

“We have tripled, quadrupled the number of cases we’re seeing every week and we have tripled the number of people in the hospital,” he said.

His concern is the 9 long-term care facilities with coronavirus outbreaks locally.

Medford’s ‘Avamere at Three Fountains’ reporting 54 cases including 8 employees, 46 residents, and one death.

“Since those folks are by definition more fragile and medically at risk, when you get an outbreak at a nursing home you’re going to see a lot more people end up at the hospital,” said Dr. Shames.

In Jackson and Josephine County, there are 34 hospitalized Covid-19 patients, according to the latest Oregon Health Authority data.

16 intensive care unit or ICU beds are available.

In Coos, Curry, Douglas and Lane counties, there are 34 hospitalized Covid-19 patients with 19 ICU beds available.

Over in Klamath County, Sky Lakes Medical Center is reporting 1 hospitalized Covid-19 patient.

It has 6 ICU beds available.

Asante’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jamie Grebosky says it’s also struggling with where to place patients discharged from its hospitals.

He says 15 patients at Rogue Regional in Medford are waiting for placement for short-term care along with 10 patients from three rivers in Grants Pass.

“Intermediate care facilities, memory care facilities… are really unable to accept patients either because they have Covid in the facility or staffing issues,” said Dr. Grebosky, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Quality Officer for Asante.

The message from the state and local health officials is clear, it’s not too late to curb the spread of Covid-19 but we have to be willing to do the work.

“We cannot and should not be relying on the fact that our hospital systems can withstand a surge, but instead we should be working together to ensure they don’t have to,” said Governor Brown.

A spokesperson from Providence also spoke at the press conference saying the state needs to come together to combat the surge of Covid-19.

They did not discuss southern Oregon.

A Medford spokesperson said the hospital was not available for comment.

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