Oregon Could Fill Hospitals by Mid-December

Oregon hospitals could reach capacity by mid-December if the daily COVID case count continues to rise, according to Oregon health officials.  

Oregon reached a new daunting record on Friday with 600 new COVID casesthe most recorded in a single day since the pandemic began. Eight of those cases were in Linn and Benton counties. This upward trajectory began in early October, reaching 45,978 total COVID cases since the pandemic began and 692 deaths.  

Currently Oregon has a total of 721 intensive care unit beds – one of the lowest number of hospital beds per capita, a fact that could be detrimental if the cases increase continues. 

Watching the numbers surge, hospital workers have brainstormed ways to accommodate the influx of cases, such as a “regionalized approach” and out-of-state assistance. They will also be limiting elective procedures, increasing staff and utilizing empty beds and units. 

“Through this regional approach, hospitals across a region can assess capacity and respond to a surge together by distributing patients needing inpatient or emergency department level of care based on capacity and capability,” Tim Heider, a spokesperson for the Oregon Health Authority, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “In face of a surge, hospitals can call on help from hospitals in neighboring communities to ensure patients get needed care, instead of working in isolation as individual facilities.”  

Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis reported in June that it has not needed more ICU beds yet, but Charlie Fautin, the Interim Co-Director of the Benton County Health Department, has warned of the limited capacity the hospital has. 

“One thing to remember is our hospital (GSRMC) comes close to or exceeds capacity in a bad flu year,” he told The Advocate in June. 

By Jessica Goddard