SALEM, OR (KPTV) – For the first time, Oregon health officials are releasing new COVID-19 projections.
They also announced a joint statewide action plan to help healthcare workers treat patients with the virus.
Oregon health officials stressed how critical it is everyone follows Gov. Kate Brown’s aggressive social distancing measures.
Right now, epidemiologists predict there are currently more than 800 COVID-19 infections in Oregon. As of Thursday, only just over 300 have been diagnosed.
Models show Oregon is at a critical moment in its fight against COVID-19. The social distancing measures we take today could alter the trajectory of new infections.
Health officials say if most everyone maintains these current interventions the governor has set forth, there will be an estimated 1,000 cumulative infections by May 8.
However, at the most extreme, if everyone goes back to business as usual, there will be about 15,000 people who will get sick in this time period.
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If we do not continue with the extreme measures set in place right now, projections show the number of hospital beds needed are likely to overburden health care systems.
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The date these graphs end, May 8, does not reflect when the disease peaks or when we’re out of the woods.
Instead, health officials say that date is when they’ll have some certainty that their projections are showing them what they think is going to happen.
“We know that without our social distancing measures in place, that the cases are going to dramatically increase in the next two to three weeks. Just because cases are increasing more slowly now, we know that those cases can increase rather quickly because of the contagion,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “We’ve seen that in other jurisdictions like New York with dramatic increases day by day, over the last week, and we want to make sure that we get to a point where we don’t see that dramatic increase. That we continue to see slow increases or ideally decreases.”
Brown’s Joint COVID-19 Health Care Systems Response Task Force developed a plan which addresses four actions necessary to expand capacity within hospitals and maintain the health care system’s capability as Oregon braces for a surge in new cases:
- Procure and distribute critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and ventilators.
- Optimize hospital capacity to be able to treat COVID-19 cases.
- Mobilize the health care workforce to respond to COVID-19.
- Maintain a unified, coordinated and transparent emergency response to COVID-19.
OHA officials say because the state began preparing for a pandemic years ago, agencies and health care providers have already begun to implement parts of this plan.
For more information on the projections, click here.
For more information on the governor’s joint task force, click here.
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