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Health and Medicine

Hospitalizations In Oregon Near Threshold That Would Trigger Indoor Dining Ban

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

Over the weekend, the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Oregon crept up closer to a 300 person threshold Gov. Kate Brown has set as a key measure of strain on the state’s hospital system.

Over the weekend, the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Oregon crept up closer to a 300-person-threshold Gov. Kate Brown has set as a key measure of strain on the state’s hospital system.

If hospitalizations reach that threshold, it could trigger an indoor dining ban and other restrictions on businesses, entertainment venues, and places of worship in counties that meet the state’s criteria for “extreme risk” of COVID-19 spread.

The number of people hospitalized rose to 295 on Saturday before falling to 291 Sunday, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

The federal government, which publishes its own data reported by the nation’s hospitals, had a slightly higher tally of hospitalizations in Oregon for confirmed COVID-19: 295 adults and 4 pediatric patients, with hospitals reporting several dozen additional suspected cases.

COVID-19 patients occupied about 10 percent of Oregon’s total ICU beds, according to the federal data.

The governor has said she will review the data this week and could announce new restrictions on Friday.

As of last week, 11 counties, home to about a third of the state’s population, had widespread transmission of the virus and would qualify for “extreme risk” if the hospitalization measure is met. Those counties are Baker, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Linn, Marion and Polk.

Rapidly rising hospitalizations are the latest measure of a fourth wave of infections sweeping across the state.

For much of the pandemic, Oregon has had one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

With natural immunity low and only around half of adults vaccinated so far, that may leave the state especially vulnerable to the more contagious variants that are becoming dominant locally and across the United States.

All Oregonians 16 and older are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Getting vaccinated as soon as possible, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and staying 6 feet away from people from outside your own household can all prevent illness and stop the community spread of COVID-19.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.