▶️ Health officials predict “horrendous” month, rise in pediatric COVID cases


Startling COVID numbers both state and locally have health officials concerned that next month is likely going to be horrendous.

“We are extremely worried that we are going to overwhelm our health care system in Central Oregon and potentially throughout Oregon,” said Chief Medical Officer at St. Charles, Bend, Dr. Doug Merrill.

It is easy to see why he’s worried.

Statewide and locally, we are heading in the wrong direction with case counts climbing.

“You’re healthy on day zero, the next day you feel bad, and you are shedding a tremendous, or you start to feel bad, you are already shedding a tremendous amount of virus, so it is easy to infect others,” Merrill said.

One of many reasons Merrill believes we are seeing such high COVID counts.

Holiday indoor gatherings, large numbers of unvaccinated residents and rapid COVID tests not being as accurate with omicron are a few other factors.

Merrill’s biggest concern is high infection rates in children.

“Because they were all outpatients with the Alpha and Delta variants, but that’s clearly not what’s happening on the east coast, so we are very concerned that we are going to have a really high incident of pediatric hospitalizations because of this,” Merrill added.

Local teens needing hospitalization will likely stay at St. Charles, instead of being sent to Portland in anticipation of full ICU beds.

Medical Professionals hope this is only a spike and burns out in around a month.

“Which is going to be a horrendous month and people will die and people will be very sick, and people will have long COVID and it will be really bad, but it could be much more rapidly resolving than with previous surges, but we just don’t know yet,” said Merrill

Deschutes County Public Health says they are very concerned with this new variant and encourages everyone to continue COVID safety practices they’ve been recommending from the start of the pandemic.


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