PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Hospital Emergency rooms around the state are packed, and this time, it's not because of a surge in cases of COVID-19.
"We're seeing record high ED utilizations," said Dr. Ralph Yates, Chief Medical Officer for Salem Health.
Over the last several weeks, hospitals have seen an influx of seriously ill people who need care.
"Some of the increase probably has to do with during the peak of the pandemic; patients were not seeking care as they normally did," said Mary Tanski, Clinical Director of OHSU's Department of Emergency Medicine. "So, conditions that would otherwise have been prevented or cared for were not controlled and might be worse."
To handle the waves of patients, OHSU has added a physician to its Emergency Department and is working to hire more nurses.
The hospital lost some of its nursing staff during the pandemic.
"Unfortunately, during the pandemic, we have seen some of our nursing colleagues leave the emergency department. It's a pretty tough place to work," Tanski said. "With COVID and all the unknowns, it was pretty challenging for them who are with the patients all the time."
OHSU advises patients that a trip to the emergency room may involve a longer wait due to the high volume of patients.