ONTARIO

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, state medical officials and officials from large medical facilities in Oregon are asking Oregonians to help slow the increases in the COVID-19 virus and keep hospitals around the state from being overwhelmed with patients.

Although officials of medical systems participating in Tuesday’s news conference said their hospitals have not become overwhelmed at this point, they are concerned case loads are not going down, the way they should.

Over the weekend new case rates were near 1,000, the governor said.

Noting the stricter regulations being put in place on social gatherings, Brown reiterated, “the goal is to save lives and not overwhelm our hospitals.”

According to figures from Oregon Health Authority, there were 771 new cases recorded Tuesday and the number of deaths had reached 737.

Dana Hargunani, with Oregon Health Authority, said state health officials and regional hospital officials have been working together for most of the pandemic to coordinate services and equipment to address the needs through coordinations. However, while the hospital are working to maintain flexibility, there is a limit.

“We are at a crossroads,” said. Dr. Renee Edwards, chief medical officer at Oregon Heath and Science University hospital. “We need to flatten the curve,” she said, adding there has to be room to address other health issues.

Dr. Jeff Absalon, with St. Charles Health System, located in central Oregon, if more people are brought to one of the hospitals showing positive with COVID, it could be that elective surgeries would not be allowed.

“Please don’t delay surgery.” he said.

“I don’t see a slowing of increases,” Dr. Jamie Grabosky, who leads a hospital group in southwest Oregon, said, commenting he had seen three-fold increase of the patients coming to his facilities in the past few days,

“We can change the trajectory of the virus,” Brown said.

According to the Malheur County Health Department, there are currently five people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county. There have been 125 total hospitalizations in Malheur County.

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