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New OHSU projection shows Oregon hospitals could be full till November

The positive COVID-19 positive test rate should be 5-8% to drop hospitalizations; C.O.'s rate is closer to 20%

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Eighteen months ago, Oregon announced its first case of COVID-19. Since then, the state has had more than 300,000 cases and nearly 3,500 COVID-19 related deaths, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

St. Charles Health System in Bend has been setting records in the past week with the number of COVID-19 patients, peaking so far at 98 on Monday.

"We're pretty full in the ICU," said Dr. Doug Merrill, chief Medical officer for St. Charles Health System. "I was just going to check -- I think we have one bed available right now."

Deschutes County has reported about 16,000 cases and 98 deaths. Crook County has had about 2,000 and 33 deaths. Jefferson County has reported about 3,000 cases and 45 deaths.

The latest COVID-19 forecast from Oregon Health and Science University shows Central Oregon at an alarming positivity rate. The most recent numbers, from last week, show Deschutes County had a positive test rate of about 18 percent. Crook County was near 15 percent and Jefferson County was at 12 percent -- a number experts say should be closer to six percent, if the hospital population is going to decline.

"If we see the positive testing drop into the five to eight percent range, then we anticipate that we're start to see a drop in the hospital population," Merrill said.

About a month ago, the FDA approved use of COVID-19 booster shots.

"Currently this is an additional dose for people who are immunocompromised, as laid out by the CDC and the OHA," Morgan Emerson with the Deschutes County Public Health Department told NewsChannel 21.

Three percent of the population is immunocompromised -- that's about 6,000 people living in Deschutes County, and 720 people each for Crook and Jefferson counties.

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.



  1. We have this article and yesterday I saw an article suggesting that Oregon and Washington had reached their peak in cases. For the follow the science folks – which article (science) do we follow since one is accurate and the other is not – or there may be a certain amount of accuracy in both?

    1. And reaching the peak in cases means that reaching the peak in hospitalizations comes a few weeks after. Lots of graphs out there but then I’m sure you knew that since it’s been shown over and over.

  2. Here’s some better news from Gov. Abbott himself-Looks like Portland realized their knee-jerk announcement to boycott Texas wasn’t a bright idea.
    It would have had no effect on Texas but could have harmed Portland & Oregon.
    Portland has bigger issues like high crime rates and substantial homelessness.

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