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Health leaders predict Omicron will peak in Oregon by next week

Health officials in Oregon are predicting the state will hit the peak in hospitalizations this weekend or early next week.
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 5:59 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Health officials in Oregon are predicting the state will hit the peak in hospitalizations this weekend or early next week.

Hospital leaders said the Omicron surge is different from previous ones. With the Delta surge, the biggest impact was on ICUs, but with Omicron the burden is falling on emergency rooms and general medical units.

“Today hospitals have 582 patients who could be discharged from the hospital, but there’s nowhere for them to go and this means they’re not in the best care setting for their needs,” Becky Hultberg, president/CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, said.

“We need help moving patients out of the hospital to free up beds for people in the community who need them.”

Dr. Laura Chess is the medical director at OHSU’s ER and said they’re bursting at the seams with patients.

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“We have converted our auditorium into a treatment area, that was in addition to adding I believe 22 total possible hallway beds for patients and that’s in addition to patients being seen in the lobby, seen in our triage area, our urgent care area, or on the pediatric side,” Chess said. “At one point we even had patients being boarded in their cars, seen in elevators, just to be able to have a place to take care of patients.”

Hultberg said it will be hard to change the trajectory we’re on in the next week or so, but beyond that we do have the ability to influence the number of hospitalizations in our facilities.

“Again for the public it is the things that we have talked about and know: mask, vaccinate, ventilate, distance. Those are the things that continue to be so important in helping us to avoid a hospitalization crisis,” she said.