OREGON -- Gov. Kate Brown joined hospital leaders across Oregon for a press conference Tuesday to discuss concerns about hospital bed capacity amid increasing cases and hospitalizations.
“Our fears that this virus would spread out of control when the colder months set in are certainly becoming a frightening reality,” Brown said. “I've said this before, but from the outset, our goal has been to save lives and avoid overwhelming our health care systems.”
Of course, hospitals are not limited to dealing with COVID-19 cases but also the impact flu season could have, along with the countless others reasons why individuals need immediate care.
Some leaders shared they will have to balance patients between multiple facilities. Others said they could have to reduce elective surgeries or shut them down altogether if cases continue to rise.
“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,” Brown said.
The State has been working with health care leaders in seven regions to develop plans for a possible surge.
Dr. Dana Hargunani is the Chief Medical Officer for the Oregon Health Authority.
“While COVID-19 has been larger and longer-lasting of an event than we could have ever anticipated, we found that our foundational learning and planning has helped us be ready in the early days when we first saw these cases,” Hargunani said.
Brown warned that it is up to the community to do their part in slowing the spread because hospitals could be put in a dangerous bind this winter.
As of Tuesday, there are 285 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across Oregon.
This is a 57% increase in this past week since Nov. 3.
There are 762 ventilators available in the state.