Asante Three Rivers: ‘We’ve had 28 deaths in the last seven days’, hospital doubles patients in ICU rooms

Hospital photos below were taken at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center

GRANTS PASS, Ore — The increase in COVID-19 patients at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center has officials urging people to continue taking precautions.

In a news conference Wednesday, officials noted that the surge in COVID related hospitalizations and deaths, is worse than what it’s seen since last winter.

“Probably the most heartbreaking thing for us at Asante, is that we’ve had 28 deaths in the last seven days,” Win Howard, CEO at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center, said. “In our first report we sent to commissioners, we had 20 deaths in 30 days and then the numbers have just been escalating.”

As of Wednesday – Asante has a total of 179 people admitted with COVID across its hospitals, 50 patients are in the Intensive/Intermediate Care Units, and 21 patients are on ventilators. 94% of those admitted are unvaccinated.

Asante says its continuing to see younger people admitted. Of the patients in the ICU/IMCU, the youngest is 32-years-old and the oldest is 78-years-old.

“We’ve had to take our 12 bed ICU and turn it into a 22 bed ICU,” Laura Magstadt, Vice President of Nursing at Three Rivers said. “We did that by putting two patients in the same room, and the rooms are barely big enough to do that.” 

Three Rivers currently has patients in different rooms like its ultra sound department. Officials say it also temporarily converted the outpatient care center on campus, to accompany the influx.

The hospital is licensed as a 125 bed hospital, and is working with the state to increase its capacity license.

“Literally trying to find any space we can to safely care for patients,” Magstadt said. “We are preparing to put patients in all of those spaces. We have so many critically ill patients that unfortunately that was our only option.”

Magstadt said the positive news out of its report, are the increase in out of state nurses coming in to help amid its staffing shortage. 40 nurses started at its hospitals Wednesday, 40 more will begin Thursday and an extra 30 nurses are expected to help next week.

Asante is also expanding its availability of monoclonal antibody treatment at its Black Oak location in Medford as of this week. It’s recommended for people that are most at risk of severe illness from COVID, and given at least 10 days prior for max protection.

“Studies have shown that if it’s given early before patients get sick, it can help prevent hospitalizations by as much as 70%.” said Dr. Pratibha Seshadri in Asante’s Infectious Disease office.

RELATED: Jackson Co. Public Health says COVID-19 antibody treatment is a ‘game changer’

Seshadri emphasizes that the treatment is not a substitute for getting the COVID vaccines. Doctors recommend those that receive the treatment, to get vaccinated 90 days after. Interested individuals can contact their primary care physician for more information.

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