Oregon man dies of Covid after hospital runs out of ICU beds

Health officials warn that hospitals are overwhelmed

Helen Elfer
Friday 20 August 2021 17:36
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ICU nurse calls on community to step up to fight Delta variant
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A Covid patient who was waiting for an intensive care unit bed to become available died inside an Oregon hospital’s emergency department.

State public health officials sounded the alarm as a wave of unvaccinated people infected with with Covid-19 overwhelmed southern Oregon’s hospitals.

“A COVID positive patient was in our Emergency Department, within our four walls, waiting for an open Intensive Care Unit bed to receive life-saving care,” the Douglas County COVID-19 Recovery Team said in a statement.

“It had been several hours because other COVID positive patients had filled those beds. Even after expanding ICU care onto other floors, there weren’t any beds available for this patient.

“We didn’t have enough. This patient died in the Emergency Department waiting for an Intensive Care Unit bed.”

Director Patrick Allen of the Oregon Health Authority said in a briefing:

“Right now, ambulances are transporting more people in respiratory distress, but they have to wait longer to get patients into emergency departments because those beds are full.”

He said about 200 patients were having to be held in ERs while waiting for intensive care beds, explaining: “Patients are spending days in emergency departments because critical care beds are not available.”

Mr Allen continued: “Patients are parked in hallways. Staffing is critically short. I need to be direct about what’s causing this crisis: a growing wave of unvaccinated patients who have become so sick with the delta variant they need to be hospitalized.”

Around half of Douglas County adults are fully vaccinated, and Oregon health officials have repeated urgent warnings about the surging numbers of unvaccinated patients infected with the delta variant.

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