St. Charles reports near-doubling in COVID-19 hospitalizations in 24 hours – KTVZ

Pleads with public to take precautions, avoid overwhelming system

(Update: Adding video, comments from St. Charles official)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — St. Charles Bend said Friday it’s seen a near-doubling in COVID-19 hospitalizations in 24 hours, from six to 11, and urged residents to take precautions to avoid overwhelming the hospital’s capacity in coming days and weeks.

Hospital spokesman Ben Salmon told NewsChannel 21 the hospital had six COVID-19 patients on Thursday and 11 as of Friday afternoon. Two were in the intensive care unit, he said, and one was on a ventilator.

“While the numbers seem ‘low,’ the concern is the exponential growth we are seeing in both Central Oregon’s case count and our hospitalizations,” the St. Charles System said in a Facebook post.

“The exponential growth is attributed to behavior weeks in the past and shows no sign of slowing. Our concern is as we head into this holiday weekend, we will add fuel to a fire that is already burning too hot. We need everyone’s help this weekend and in the weeks ahead to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Dr. Jeff Abasalon, the hospital’s chief physician executive, told NewsChannel 21 on Friday, “We all know there’s a strong desire to get back to normal, in terms of our everyday interactions,”

“However, what I really think is important for people to know is that if we’re not careful about how we interact with others, we will continue to spread the virus that causes covid-19 disease,” he said.

“And so it for these reasons that we recommend everyone adhere to social distancing or physical distancing guidelines, wear a mask at all times when you’re in public, wash your hands and limit your interactions,” Absalon said.

 Here’s the full news release from St. Charles System:

At St. Charles, COVID-19 hospitalizations have nearly doubled in the past 24 hours, and our data modeling shows that we are heading for a bigger surge than the one we experienced in April.

The bottom line is if behavior doesn’t change in our community, we will overwhelm our health system’s capacity in the coming weeks.

We know people are looking forward to celebrating the holiday weekend with family and friends. However, we are not in a position to celebrate in the ways we’re used to. After Memorial Day weekend gatherings, COVID-19 cases accelerated. This virus does not take holidays off, and our actions now will determine where we stand later in July.

To keep you, your loved ones and your community safe, we urge you to:

1.      Stay home if you feel sick.

2.      Think hard about your Fourth of July plans. Please strongly consider celebrating at home this year, and limiting your interactions to a very small group of people.

3.      If you go out in public, it is absolutely vital that you wear a mask at all times.

4.      Follow physical distancing guidelines.

5.      Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

St. Charles System has been preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients since January, and our facilities remain a safe place for care of any kind. If you experience a medical emergency and need to seek care, please do not hesitate to visit a St. Charles hospital.

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