Oregon’s intensive care units were 91% full as of Friday morning, according to data from the state of Oregon.
“The whole system is really feeling the results of the large number of COVID cases because they are consuming a huge amount of resources,” says emergency physician John Moorhead of Oregon Health & Science University hospitals. “Hospitals are full and staff are being redeployed from areas like the operating room, which limits or cancels elective surgeries in most hospitals. This situation affects the entire population.
Moorhead is a member of the Oregon chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, which this week released a statement asking people to make wise decisions over the long weekend. The group advises people to avoid large gatherings or indoors, wear face masks and practice social distancing.
“We are tired and heartbroken that 17 months after the start of the pandemic we are facing what looks like a largely preventable increase in patient numbers,” the statement said. “We have seen time and time again how meetings with family and friends over holiday weekends have led to an increase in infections with this virus. “
The group says more than half of all intensive care patients are there because of COVID. This means that people with unrelated illnesses – like heart attacks and strokes – are at a greater risk of dying because resources are so limited.
“The whole state is trying to work together on these issues,” Moorhead said. “At least until next month, it’s going to be a real challenge. The public can help by getting vaccinated and wearing masks to prepare for Labor Day events. “
If you plan to travel, the Centers for Disease Control offers tips for traveling during the pandemic and traveling safely with unvaccinated children.