By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
St. Charles’ intensive care unit was at maximum capacity Tuesday morning, with five beds taken by COVID patients and the other 25 taken by people with other illnesses and injuries, according to spokeswoman Lisa Goodman.
“While five COVID patients in the ICU may seem like it’s not too big of a deal, it’s important to remember that many patients need ICU care for other reasons like heart attacks, strokes or car accidents,” St. Charles President Joe Sluka said in a letter to the community.
While St. Charles usually would move patients to other hospitals nearby, the hospital is currently keeping all ICU patients at St. Charles, Goodman said.
The hospital is expanding the ICU bed capacity to accommodate more patients if needed.
Jonathan Modie, lead communications officer for the Oregon Health Authority, said the OHA works closely with hospitals like St. Charles to monitor hospital capacity.
“It’s not just COVID happening out there,” Modie said. “There are a number of other various illnesses and injuries and people needing ICU beds and ventilators.”
The Oregon Health Authority is no longer reporting a climbing number of COVID hospitalizations.
“Hospitalization have for the most part plateaued after increasing for five consecutive weeks,” Modie said. “They actually remain below earlier peaks in March and April despite an increase in cases.”
Modie said the rate of hospitalizations has flattened due to more early COVID detection and an increase in cases in young people.
“That’s one of the reasons why we’re seeing this flattening because we’re correspondingly seeing an increase in the number of younger people, who are less likely to be hospitalized,” Modie said.
In his letter, Sluka asked the community to do their part in slowing the COVID spread to keep the ICU capacity manageable.
“We appreciate all those of you who are doing your part to stay home when possible, wear a mask when in public, wash your hands frequently and physically distance from those not in your immediate households,” Sluka said.