▶️ As COVID cases spike, St. Charles, Oregon hospitals braces for surge


As of Tuesday, St. Charles has 15 COVID-19 patients – twice the number it had last week.

Of those, 13 are from Oregon counties, mostly Deschutes and Crook County.

While hospitals across the state may be able to withstand a surge of COVID-19 case, Gov. Kate Brown says it’s up to Oregonians to make sure they don’t have to.

“While we have plans to share beds and ventilators if necessary,” Brown said during a press conference Tuesday. “That needs to be a last resort.”

On Tuesday, the Oregon Health Authority had a record 285 confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state.

That’s a 57% increase in just the past week, and 83% in the past month.

Dr. Jeff Absalon, the chief physician executive at St. Charles, says right now the hospital has room both in and out of the intensive care unit.

If a surge does happen, they have a plan in place.

“We’ve got a basement that’s full of extra hospital beds, a variety of other types of equipment, we’ve got multiple ventilators, much more so than what we normally or ever use available to us,” Absalon said. “We have plans on bringing those into play if necessary.”

Patients also could be rebalanced between St. Charles facilities across the region, and the hospital could once again scale back elective surgeries.

“So we’re hopeful that we won’t have to go there,” Absalon said. “But we do have plans in place to be able to pull those levers if necessary.”

Absalon says staffing, not beds, would be an immediate concern if COVID hospitalizations continue to spike.


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