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Tags: Virus Outbreak | Oregon

COVID-Stricken Oregon Deploys National Guard to Hospitals

COVID-Stricken Oregon Deploys National Guard to Hospitals
(Getty)

Friday, 13 August 2021 08:22 PM

Oregon’s governor said Friday she will send up to 1,500 National Guard troops to hospitals around the state to assist healthcare workers who are being pushed to the brink by a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant.

Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said the first group of 500 Guard members will be deployed next Friday to serve as material and equipment runners in the most stricken hospitals and to help with COVID-19 testing, among other things. Troops will be sent to 20 hospitals around Oregon.

There are 733 people hospitalized with the virus in Oregon as of Friday, including 185 people in intensive care units — more than 60 people more than just a day before and nearly double what the number was two weeks ago.

“I cannot emphasize enough the seriousness of this crisis for all Oregonians, especially those needing emergency and intensive care,” Brown said, reiterating that message. “When our hospitals are full with COVID-19 patients, there may not be room for someone needing care after a car crash, a heart attack, or other emergency situation.”

Oregon, once seen as a pandemic success story, has seen that progress slip away in recent weeks as the highly contagious Delta variant gains a foothold in counties with lower vaccination rates. The state kept an indoor mask mandate in place until June, shut down restaurants and businesses and had strict indoor capacity limits long after other states had returned to near-normal.

Amid the surge, Brown has mandated masks for all students and staff in K-12 schools when classes resume later this month regardless of vaccination status and a new statewide indoor mask mandate took effect Friday.

But earlier this week, hospitals warned that Oregon's record-setting virus hospitalization numbers were pushing them to capacity and some have already had to start delaying care for non-COVID conditions. Several counties in southern Oregon, where fewer than half of eligible adults are vaccinated, are particularly hard hit.

About 29% of adults in Oregon are unvaccinated and more than 102,000 vaccine doses have been thrown away due to non-use.

“This is the worst condition our hospitals have seen, likely ever. I don’t know that anyone could recall a time where we’ve had this much pressure on our health care system,” Josephine County Public Health Manager Michael Weber told reporters Thursday on a conference call.

There were 1,785 new or presumed cases statewide Friday and seven deaths. Other deaths this week included a 19-year-old woman in the state's rural northeastern corner.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Oregon's governor said Friday she will send up to 1,500 National Guard troops to hospitals around the state to assist healthcare workers who are being pushed to the brink by a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant.Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said the first...
Virus Outbreak, Oregon
416
2021-22-13
Friday, 13 August 2021 08:22 PM
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