Deschutes Co. COVID cases, hospitalizations surge; weekly count sets record

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More COVID cases were reported in Deschutes County last week than any week during the pandemic and St. Charles is seeing more and younger patients in need of intensive care.

Deschutes County Health reported 548 COVID cases last week (Sun-Sat). The previous weekly record was 506 cases, which was reported the week of April 24th.

“Unfortunately, as of this moment,
it feels like we are losing the race.”
– Joe Sluka, St. Charles President/CEO

Already this week (Sun-Mon) the county has reported 116 cases.

“Less than 1% of Deschutes County COVID-19 cases have been in people who are fully vaccinated,” said Morgan Emerson, with Deschutes County Health. “We have seen cases in people who have received their first dose, are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and then test positive. While you’re waiting to be fully vaccinated, two weeks after your last shot, it’s important to remain vigilant with masking and distancing.”

Deschutes was among 15 Oregon counties placed back on Extreme Risk restrictions on Friday hoping to put an end to the ongoing surge in COVID cases.

Currently, there are 1,975 active COVID cases in the county – that’s one in 100 residents.

Overall, 8,029 total cases have been reported and 73 people have died; 5,981 patients have recovered.

In Deschutes County, cases have been climbing for six straight weeks dating back to the end of March.

Hospitalizations have also been climbing.

On Monday afternoon St. Charles reported it had 39 COVID patients; eight in the ICU and six on ventilators.

On April 9th the hospital had just four COVID patients.

St. Charles President/CEO Joe Sluka said in an email Monday “unfortunately, as of this moment, it feels like we are losing the race.”

“Because we have done such a great job of vaccinating our older population, the average age of our hospitalized critically ill patients has dropped by about 13 years,” he said. “Unfortunately, with this recent wave of spread, and perhaps related to new variants, we are now seeing people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who are very sick with this virus and in need of intensive care.”

Sluka said the hospital is once again faced with canceling elective procedures because there are not enough hospital beds and staff to provide care.

The hospital has been operating at above 90% capacity for weeks.

“This is not the time to give up. We have tools that will give us that boost of energy to pull ahead in the race,” he said. “Masking, handwashing and distancing remain absolutely critical – perhaps now more than ever.”

Sluka implored residents to get vaccinated, and “be a part of the solution.”

So far, 70,076 Deschutes County residents have been fully vaccinated; another 23,381 have received their first dose.

“We are now at the point where we have more vaccine appointment slots available than we can fill,” he said. “You can still visit www.centraloregoncovidvaccine.com to make an appointment at the tri-county mass vaccination clinic at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. You are now able to pick a time that’s most convenient for you – no more pre-registering or waiting to receive a link in an email. Just schedule and go. It’s that easy.”

Total Central Oregon COVID-19 Cases by County:
  • 1,005 in Crook County
  • 8,231 in Deschutes County
  • 2,140 in Jefferson County
Total Central Oregon COVID-19 Deaths by County:
  • 20 in Crook County
  • 73 in Deschutes County
  • 32 in Jefferson County
Total Central Oregon COVID-19 Vaccination data by County:
  • 7,927 people fully vaccinated or vaccines in-progress in Crook County.
  • 93,457 people fully vaccinated or vaccines in-progress in Deschutes County.
  • 8,580 people fully vaccinated or vaccines in-progress in Jefferson County.

The Oregon Health Authority Monday reported one new death, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,502; 540 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bring the state total to 186,877

Statewide, hospitalizations also jumped by six on Monday to 351.

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