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Amid rise in COVID-19 patients, St. Charles welcomes state rule requiring staff vaccinations or testing

KTVZ file

37 COVID-19 patients at Bend hospital, highest in nearly 2 months

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- St. Charles Health System, again dealing with a rise in COVID-19 patients, said Wednesday it is beginning efforts to meet Gov. Kate Brown's new state health and safety rule that requires employees in health care settings to provide proof of vaccination or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

The requirement — which applies broadly to health care workers who have direct or indirect contact with patients or infectious materials — will take full effect on Sept. 30, giving the hospital system and others time to prepare for implementation and giving caregivers time to become fully vaccinated if they are not already and choose to do so.

“This is welcomed news, as it allows us to further protect our workforce and our patients,” said Joe Sluka, St. Charles’ president and CEO. “We’re proud that 76% of our caregivers are already fully vaccinated, but we also know that means nearly a quarter are still vulnerable. The governor said today the more contagious delta variant ‘has changed everything.’ We think that’s right, too, as the numbers we’ve seen as of late are not at all encouraging.”

Oregon health officials have reported about 6,000 new cases of COVID-19 since July 26, which is nearly double the number of cases recorded the week prior and the highest weekly count since mid-January. In Deschutes County, the previous week case count reported on July 31 was 244 — a 79% increase over the week before.

Hospitalizations are on the rise, too. As of Wednesday, there are 37 patients with COVID-19 at St. Charles Bend — four of whom are in the ICU — the highest number the health system has seen since mid-June.

“We are deeply concerned by the abrupt rise in case numbers, which we believe is due to the delta variant,” Sluka said. “The most recent and best data available shows patients with the delta variant have 1,000 times more virus particles in their systems than the patients who had the original virus. Put another way: It’s very, very infectious.”

As the governor just made her announcement, St. Charles said it is only now initiating its work on what the implementation of this rule will look like. More information will be available in the coming weeks as details are finalized.

About St. Charles Health System

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, La Pine, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon, with more than 4,500 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.

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  1. Scientists make predictions based on the best available information. Sars is constantly evolving due to its transmissibility and will continue to baffle all of us other than the two clowns on here named Bozo and Happy Slappy.

    1. So caring about the health and safety of employees, patients, and the general public is a communist plot? I guess “memyselfandi” is a true indication of your priorities in life.

  2. The only way to avoid the local, state and federal tyranny is to renounce your citizenship, then come back across our non-existent border illegally.
    American citizens are now second class residents, illegals have more rights than we do.

  3. Why are the vaccinated not going to tested since we now know that the virus can be transmitted from people who have received the Wuhan China virus vaccine? Here is a the link from the lefts favorite news source NPR on how the CDC states that the vaccinated can transmit the virus….. WHY ARE THE VACCINATED NOT REQUIRED TO BE TESTED ALSO?

      1. If the non-vaccinated are wearing a mask it’s the same as a vaccinated person wearing a mask. You are saying that a mask prevents the spreading and infecting. If that’s the case why do you need a vaccine? Your argument is silly. Read what you are saying.

        1. The problem here is that some people really like to think in black and white, and this isn’t a black and white issue. You gotta think in probabilities.

        2. You and Redmond think because you listen to righty media that you know all the answers, but I guess I have to tell you. the virus can get into your mucus membranes and be alive without you being infected. then if you sneeze or cough or laugh it can become airborne and get inhaled by someone else. When you are actually infected by a virus (sick)it invades your cells and you are actually way more infectious your viral load is way higher. a vaccinated person is hard to infect compared to unvaccinated.

          1. I certainly do not have all the answers. However, I am certainly open for dialogue and debate which most people who frequent this site do not are not.
            I agree with you last post and am not sure why you are criticizing me…
            In fact, you are helping my original argument..
            We now know that vaccinated people can carry and transmit the virus potentially making others sick. So, why would St. Charles only do weekly testing on people who are non-vaccinated only? 2 different groups of people with the same potential for spreading the virus. I cannot think of a more clearer case of segregation.

            1. They do not have the same potential for spreading ,that is the point. And so many fewer vaccinted people will get infected that they dont feel its necessary to test them all. Thts how well the vaccine works. The numbers pgrove it.

    1. Because they’re less likely to be infected. And the fact that they’re vaccinated shows that they are trying to stop the pandemic unlike the unvaccinated.

    2. Who says they aren’t? Anybody can be tested.

      There are multiple articles on (Provincetown). The folks in this small town (3000) did not use preventative practices post vaxx.. they assumed they were safe. They have admitted their error and are re-evaluating.

      As for your comment about non vaxxed wearing masks ~it seems like a high % don’t, haven’t and won’t.

      1. The article clearly states that one must provide proof of vaccination or be tested weekly.. It’s says nothing about testing the vaccinated weekly which the CDC has determined can also still shed the virus… 2 groups of people are going to be treated differently when the vaxed and non-vaxed both can spread the virus… if that is not segregation, then I don’t know what is. I have to think that some civil liberties attorneys will be all over this argument uement

  4. Logic would also state that any patient visitors will be required to show ones “papers” or be tested also. But we also know that the virus can be transmitted by vaccinated people according to the CDC….

  5. So an organization that is short staffed by 600 positions thinks it is a good idea to force staff to take a vaccination they don’t want. Slight possibility that’s not going to help fill those positions.

    And now we know vaccinated people can get this Delta variant and infect a bunch of people. I believe many of the medical people who don’t want the vaccine are using Ivermectin as a prophylactic to keep from getting the Covid. Ivermectin is a potent anti-viral, so there is a good chance the unvaccinated using Ivermectin are less likely to pass on the Covid than are vaccinated. But we will never get to know such things because Big Pharma forbids the mention of anything but VACCINE.

    1. I am certainly no lawyer but I would think that if you only want to test the non-vaccinated and give special treatment to the vaccinated when we now know that they can carry the viral load and spread the virus too, that might have some legal issues. Obviously I know nothing about the law and it would be interesting to hear some analysis from the lawyers who visit the KTVZ site.

  6. So the current shot is based on a virus that is now at LEAST one year and a half years old, and just now it mutates into a new—even worse strain?
    Coronaviruses, being RNA viruses, mutate rapidly, gaining genetic and therefore antigenic diversity. This diversity, especially for coronae, also increases through RNA recombination, due to the particularly inconsistent mode of transcription of viral RNAs. Two types have already been identified for SARS-Cov2, S and L. It is doubtful that a vaccine can provide both equal coverage for all strains of the virus that emerge, as well as permanent protection over time, hence underlining one more time the importance and priority of finding anti-viral drugs against coronavirus.

    1. Right on. The crazy part is that several drugs have proved to have good to excellent anti-viral effects against the corona virus but since they are old drugs and off-patent the big pharmaceutical companies with their influence on mainstream media and big social media have effectively blocked all mention of them. From my reading it seems like Ivermectin is the most effective and is the drug that knocked the poop out of the virus in Mexico and India but we are never allowed to hear about it. Hydroxychloroquine when used early in the disease apparently keeps a lot of people out of the hospital. Nebulized hydrogen peroxide is another cheap thing with good results when used early. All these are most effective when used with the first sign of symptoms but doctors in the US are discouraged (Ivermectin) or forbidden (Hydroxychloroquine) from using them so they send us home to wait to get sick enough to go to the hospital. Seems criminal to me.

    1. Various reasons~ financial is a main one.

      For a hospital in Houston ~ the percentage was less than .01 (253 employees out of 25,000 refused the vaxx).

      Lots of info out there on this subject if you want to learn more and not blame/ shame Z21.

  7. Good! All of the medical professionals that I know of are vaccinated and believe in masks. So all those anti-vaxxers out there just stay home if you get sick and there won’t be a problem at the hospital. If there are personnel that don’t want to get the vax or be tested, they can find another job. I know I would feel better having medical personnel that believed in science. If you don’t believe in science you should pick another career than one at a hospital.

  8. Would you all be okay with the Biden admin releasing 7k Covid positive illegals into Bend or Redmond. People need to wake up and realize what they are doing to towns like McAllen, Texas. Complete disregard for American citizens.

  9. This country would not be in this situation now if obiden would have continued with the Trump policies on illegals remaining in mexico, instead we have an invasion of infected people from all over the world illegally in this country that are being flown, bussed all over the country. obiden and his ilk are 100 percent responsible for this and every demonrat that voted for the POS.

  10. Breakthrough COVID, if you don’t know what it means, look it up, everyone needs to be tested weekly, the vaccinated, and the un-vaccinated,
    As we are seeing all around the world now, the vaccinated can get the variants, and pass them on to the vaccinated, and un-vaccinated, and as there are many who because of existing conditions, cannot be vaccinated, who need to be protected from these carriers, EVERYONE needs to be tested weekly.
    The Vaccinated are the ones who are passing it along to the majority now, as many of them think they cannot get COVID. Remember Old Joe saying if you get vaccinated, we can get back to normal, that was a lie, you most likely will get COVID we all will. I see Old Joe going around un masked now, right up in peoples faces, probably passing along the COVID.

  11. The problem with weekly testing is that you are negative at that one moment in time, and any time exposure happens before the next testing what is the risk of passing it on before being tested again?

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