PORTLAND, Ore. — Eight and half months into the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are hospitalized with the virus in Oregon than any other time during the pandemic.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced Wednesday that 406 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus, a new record. Ninety-four people with COVID-19 are in ICU beds, OHA said.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Oregon have more than doubled over the last two weeks, according to data from OHA. On Nov. 4, there were 191 people confirmed with COVID-19 who were hospitalized in Oregon. That number has continued to rise to the 406 people reported on Wednesday.
In mid-September, there were days when less than 100 people were hospitalized with the virus, including Sept. 13 when 92 people were hospitalized. A little more than two months later, that number has more than quadrupled.
During the first coronavirus wave in the spring, the most COVID-19 hospitalizations reported in a single day was April 7 when 157 people were hospitalized.
The rise in coronavirus hospitalizations was one of several factors Gov. Kate Brown cited when she announced the state would enter a two-week freeze, which began Wednesday. The freeze put in place stricter COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
Becky Hultberg, president and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, voiced support last week for the new restrictions.
"If we are not able to slow the spread of COVID-19 now, hospital capacity for all Oregonians could be threatened as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to grow, jeopardizing the availability of care for us all," Hultberg said.
An emergency room physician at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland told KGW over the weekend that the hospital was running close to full capacity.
"We are running at very high capacity, close to 100%," said Dr. Matt Hansen. "We are having trouble both with the number of beds, but even trying to expand our surge capacity. Sometimes, beds that we have may be open, but we don't have the staff to care for patients that may be in those beds, so it's definitely a problem."
According to data from OHA, as of Wednesday, there were 127 adult ICU beds open in Oregon and 557 adult non-ICU beds were available.
The concern about hospitalizations also comes as COVID-19 cases statewide have reached record highs during the pandemic. OHA reported 1,099 new cases Wednesday, the second-most of any day during the pandemic. Oregon has had at least 1,000 new known cases in four of the past seven days.