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Legacy Health pauses nonessential surgeries due to COVID-19 patient surge

Legacy said the hospital system is projected an "unprecedented" number of hospitalizations in the coming weeks.
Credit: KGW

PORTLAND, Ore. — Legacy Health is implementing a surge plan and pausing all non-urgent surgical procedures for two weeks to keep more beds open for critically ill COVID-19 patients, the hospital system announced Monday. The pause on surgeries takes effect immediately.

In a news release, Legacy said the delta variant of the coronavirus is "creating a significant strain" on hospitals and staff, and the hospital system is projecting "an unprecedented number of hospitalizations" in the coming weeks. 

Oregon set another record for hospitalizations Monday, with 937 COVID-positive patients in Oregon hospitals and only 7% of the state's ICU beds available. 

Legacy also referenced staff shortages in its news release, a problem facing hospitals around the state and nationwide. St. Charles Health System had 161 nursing jobs open when KGW visited its Bend ICU in mid-August.

Legacy patients will be contacted by their provider to reschedule their procedures, or they can reach out directly to find out if their procedure is affected. 

This comes as Oregon hospitals take measures to deal with a massive surge of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. Jackson and Josephine Counties have requested a field hospital, Oregon National Guard members are deploying across the state to help overwhelmed hospitals with screening, testing and logistics. 

Legacy Health also implemented the following restrictions for visitors last week:

Adult patients

  • Visitors will not be allowed for any adult patients during their stay in inpatient and outpatient settings.
  • Adult patients in the emergency department will be allowed to have one visitor. The visitor must be 18 years of age or older and pass a COVID-19 screening. If the patient is later admitted into the hospital, the visitor will not be allowed into the hospital’s patient room.
  • Patients with disabilities will be allowed one support person as required by law.
  • A patient can have a visitor help with discharge, follow-up care instructions, and pick-up in outpatient surgery settings.

Labor & Delivery patients

  • One visitor will be allowed during a patient’s stay.

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is also limiting patient visitors at all its hospitals and outpatient facilities.