In response to COVID-19, The Oregon State Hospital restricted admittance resulting in patients who are not able to access the care they need.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that for the second time in a year, the hospital is out of compliance with a long-time federal order requiring they admit patients within seven days of when the inmate is found unable to aid in their own defense due to mental illness.
OPB also reported that the Oregon Health Authority, or OHA, plans to ask a federal judge to modify the federal admission order during the pandemic.
On March 16, OSH started restricting admissions to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to the state hospital. According to OPB, as of Monday, there were at least 34 patients waiting for admission into the Oregon State Hospital.
Emily Cooper, legal director of Disability Rights Oregon, told Oregon Live that these admission restrictions threaten people who are not able to advocate for their own needs.
“I understand there is a pandemic and government officials are working day and night. I understand we are in unprecedented times,” Cooper said. “But whatever response the government has cannot disproportionately impact the most vulnerable, and that includes people who are mentally ill and in jail.”