Oregon Hospitals Are Packed: Do Your Part

Health organizations in the Portland metro area have issued more warnings about COVID-19 as the Delta variant continues to pummel Oregon. With over 1,000 people hospitalized across the state for severe cases, healthcare workers are overwhelmed and resources are stretched to the limit.  

With 92% of hospital beds in use and 93% of ICU beds taken, wait times in emergency rooms have increased and doctors are having difficulty treating patients with serious conditions like heart attacks, strokes, or sepsis. As Dr. Mary Griswold, associate medical director at Kaiser Permanente puts it, “If you get sick and need a hospital, we may not have a bed for you.”  

Kaiser Permanente, OHSU, Legacy Health, and Providence have all asked for public assistance.   

Cases are expected to peak in September and return to more stable levels in October. In order to keep hospital beds open for patients in need of critical care, healthcare workers have recommended the following.  

Get vaccinated. 

Across the state, 85% of patients with lung failure and other serious complications are unvaccinated. 90% of Kaiser Permanente’s and OHSU’s ICU patients are unvaccinated. Legacy reported even more, at 97% unvaccinated ICU cases.  

If you aren’t vaccinated, stay home. 

 Avoid gatherings if at all possible if you aren’t vaccinated. If you do have to go out, wear your mask, wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds, and keep at least six feet away from other people in public.  

Following these steps lowers the risk of you catching or spreading COVID-19.  

Feeling sick? Stay home, even if you’re vaccinated.  

Scientists are estimating that the Delta variant is twice as transmissible as the original COVID-19 strain.  

This means that, on average, a person infected with the original strain can infect about one or two people — provided no precautions or preventative measures are taken — whereas a person infected with the Delta variant can infect between five and eight people in the same scenario. 

Vaccinated people can still transmit COVID-19. The vaccine reduces the risk of you landing in critical care. 

So even if you’ve been vaccinated, stay home if you feel sick.  

Don’t go to the ER for a COVID-19 test.  

ERs in Oregon are already overwhelmed and understaffed. Don’t go to the ER for a COVID-19 test. You can find information on testing near you on this webpage  

Finally, go to the ER only if necessary.  

If you’re having a medical emergency, please go to the ER. This is especially important for people with the Delta variant; it progresses rapidly, and you have a better chance of recovery if you get help early.  

For more information about COVID-19 in the Benton County area, visit the County webpage here. 

By Jalen Todd