Hospital Rates

While the surge in respiratory viruses in Oregon has slowed, hospitals are still struggling, according to Oregon Health Officer and State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger.

During the fall, RSV, COVID, and Influenza pushed Oregon hospitals to their breaking point. A situation that Sidelinger labeled a 'crisis' in December is now improving, thanks partly to the precautions Oregonians took over the holidays.

"All overall respiratory virus activity in our communities remains high, and our hospital systems are still under extraordinary pressure, with some operating near, or even above 100% capacity, we are seeing some improvements in respiratory virus hospitalizations," Sidelinger said during a media briefing Thursday, Jan. 12. "Unfortunately, our hospitals are not yet able to resume their normal workbooks."

Status of Respiratory Viruses

Sidelinger reported that RSV hospitalization rates have improved most of the respiratory viruses. The peak of RSV saw its peak in pediatric hospitalizations on November 3. Currently, Sidelinger reported that "hospitalizations are decreasing rapidly."

Influenza in adults and children remains high; however, the flu reached the peak season for adults on December 3. As of now, influenza hospitalizations for children have plateaued, and Sidelinger expects cases for adults and children to continue to decrease.

COVID-19 Update

Sidelinger also offered an update on the status of COVID-19 throughout the state.

"COVID-19-related hospitalizations increased quickly in November and remain higher than their previous baseline but have dropped in the last week," Sidelinger said. "National forecasts are predicting that COVID-19 hospitalizations will remain at their current level for the next few weeks. Dr. Peter Graven and his OHSU modeling team, in their statewide forecast published on January 6, are predicting a small increase in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 into February caused by the highly contagious COVID-19 Omicron variant, known as XBB.1.5."

The forecast predicts that 367 will be hospitalized as of February 4. Oregon health experts are monitoring XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant, which is spreading rapidly in the Northeast United States. Health officials expect a rapid spread of the variant in the coming weeks.

"While this variant does appear to be the most transmissible COVID-19 variant so far, at this time, there is no evidence that it is associated with more severe COVID-19 infection," Sidelinger said. "In general, we are not seeing a significant cause for concern about XBB.1.5 right now."

Sidelinger explained that "variants are expected to emerge over time," but there is no evidence that it will be more harmful than other Omicron subvariants.

What Oregonians can do to stay safe

Sidelinger offered Oregonians ways to protect themselves from the array of respiratory viruses. Sidelinger emphasized the importance of getting a Flu shot to fight Influenza. Similarly, Sidelinger urged Oregonians to get their COVID vaccinations and boosters.

"Get your COVID-19 booster. And if you haven't yet gotten the first two primary doses, please do so; it's the best way to protect you as the highly contagious XBB.1.5 variant makes its way toward Oregon. It will get eventually, and we want you to be ready," Sidelinger said.

Sidelinger also reemphasized the importance of observing many of the best practices that helped people during the pandemic.

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Wear a mask indoors
  • Limit exposure to large gatherings
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Stay home if you are sick

Sidelinger said that these precautions will help slow the spread of disease.

Monkey Pox Update

Sidelinger also addressed the ongoing issue of Monkey Pox or "M Pox." After the spike in cases in late October, new cases have slowed to "a trickle." OHA has seen fewer than 5 cases diagnosed in the past month.

"We believe these low case counts reflect what we have seen over the last several months and where we are focusing our efforts, he said. "Preliminary vaccine effectiveness data indicate that the JYNNEOS Vaccine is effective against M Pox. Two doses of the vaccine offer the best protection for those at risk."

Since the start of the M pox Oregon outbreak in June, there have been 270 cases of M pox. While Sidelinger said he expects a "handful" of cases in the next few months, he expressed that Oregon health systems are better prepared to address them.


Online Poll

Whit the upcoming special district election, are you currently happy with our local government leaders?

You voted:

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

1. Be Civil. No bullying, name calling, or insults.
2. Keep it Clean and Be Nice. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
3. Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
4. Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
5. Be Proactive. Let us know of abusive posts. Multiple reports will take a comment offline.
6. Stay On Topic. Any comment that is not related to the original post will be deleted.
7. Abuse of these rules will result in the thread being disabled, comments denied, and/or user blocked.

Online Poll

Whit the upcoming special district election, are you currently happy with our local government leaders?

You voted: