Why Are There Hospital Capacity Issues Now?

OHA explains a bit about the reasons behind the current hospital limits.


As a result of Oregonians stepping up and following safety protocols throughout the course of this pandemic, Oregon has been a leading state in controlling the pandemic.

Oregon has consistently ranked among the lowest four states in cases per capita and the fifth lowest COVID-19 death rate per capita in the nation. 

However, Oregon’s relative success in containing the pandemic makes us more vulnerable now, despite the fact that 73.3% of adult Oregonians are vaccinated. 

But many Oregonians remain unvaccinated; and Oregon has a comparably low naturally acquired immunity to other states due to the low number of people who have been exposed to the virus. As a result, we are heading into this latest surge with one of the largest pools of vulnerable people in the country. 

With the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, Oregon communities with low vaccination rates are seeing high infection and test positivity rates, which are driving a spike in hospitalizations. 

In addition, Oregon’s decades-long track record of controlling health care costs and driving good outcomes through the prioritization of primary and preventive care means we require fewer acute care hospital beds per capita, compared to other states. 

OHA and Oregon health care providers are working together in every region to address these issues and reduce the strain on hospitals statewide. As a state, we also need more people vaccinated. Increasing Oregon’s vaccination rate is the single most effective way to stem the crisis.  

If you haven’t decided you to get vaccinated yet, the Delta variant provides the best possible reason to reconsider. If you have concerns or questions about the vaccine talking to your health care provider can help.

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