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Is Hospital Capacity an Issue?
It doesnt seem that way

Experts would have you believe that the same threats of COVID-19 patients inundating hospitals from nine months ago still exist today. The message has been that our hospitals would have been overwhelmed if not for draconian lockdowns instituted by Kate Brown’s overreaching orders. Was it all for naught?

They can’t have it both ways. Either our draconian mitigation worked and voila, hospitals are fine or it did not work at all. And you cannot say that of the 30 grocery store patrons at Safeway, one single unmasked person set us all back. That line of thinking lacks logic and besides, there is zero evidence to that claim. According to Oregon Health Authority, Grocery stores are not on the list of major causes of outbreaks.

None of these questions posed negate the fact that the virus is real but how we are dealing with the facts deserves a broader discussion. After all, we are not being asked. We are being told to lockdown again.

What is compelling is to look at previous hospital capacity versus now. As of November 17, OHSU is reporting a total of 43 COVID patients for their three main hospitals. There are 12 patients already in hospital for other conditions and listed as previous in-house patients. It is hospital protocol to test every patient is regardless of symptoms in spite of accuracy problems plaguing asymptomatics. Better safe than sorry, right?

As an example, the OHA chart below is from June and shows 42 COVID-19 patients reported in hospital, which is only ONE more than today. What is the reason for the Big Freeze?

Between the Weekly Report published by OHA and this article on July 1, show there were more COVID hospitalizations reported months ago but the messaging then was that things were under control and survival rates had improved significantly.

A report showing a general lack of hospital beds in Oregon is underscored by Dr. Renee Edwards, “Without a significant slowing of COVID-19, Oregon will not be able to serve the hospital needs of Oregonians without creating more beds.”

“Under an agreement announced Monday, the Portland area’s four hospital systems -- Legacy Health, Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health & Services and OHSU, which includes Adventist Health Portland and Tuality Healthcare -- are working with the Oregon Health Authority in an unprecedented joint effort to coordinate beds, add capacity and share resources. Data specialists at OHSU and the Oregon Health Authority expect coronavirus cases to double every 6.2 days. By April 11, Oregon will need 1,000 hospital beds and 400 intensive care beds to serve those patients.” As we know these dire predictions did not materialize. We are not far from a normal year scenario for capacity which is 65-70%, according to data from AHA from previous three years and HHS, Oregon is at 70.4% for bed utilization. For a more in depth look, read more from Data Expert, Justin Hart with Rational Ground as he details other states' hospitalization scenarios.

In the long months that have passed, did Oregon’s metro hospitals not prepare for the threatened Fall wave? It is difficult to trust the same experts who gave us modeling projections that never materialized and know what the true impact of a 5% increase in bed utilization is.

Whatever happened to those unused field hospital beds? With CARES ACT funds still available as well as our own state revenue in the $2Bn range, could we not do something other than lockdown churches? You may recall the furloughs in Oregon's hospitals, have they neglected to restaff?

Or perhaps a more surreptitious explanation exists and that is Kate Brown refuses to relinquish her control on a highly politicized situation. Her collaboration with California and Washington, her digs at the current administration and demands for more federal stimulus funds support this theory.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.com


--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-18 13:53:33Last Update: 2020-11-18 14:20:56



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