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It’s been an interesting few weeks of ups and downs on the COVID-19 front. Our hospitalizations have stabilized somewhat from a high of 11 earlier this month, but positive test results in all three of our counties continue to climb.  

Sadly, we also experienced the first two deaths of Central Oregon residents from the virus, one in Crook County and one in Deschutes County. Our thoughts go out to the families and friends of these individuals and all those suffering due to impacts from the ongoing pandemic.

In addition, Deschutes County reported the first known outbreak in a local memory care facility. Our team was happy to provide testing and other support as part of the response effort and has been proud of how Mt. Bachelor Memory Care has handled the difficult situation. Again, we hold those dealing with these infections in our hearts.  

Explaining the numbers

As of this morning, we have seven patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and five of them are in the Intensive Care Unit. Since we started releasing this information to the public regularly, we have had a lot of questions that show we need to put the numbers into context.  

In order to best group and care for COVID-19 patients, we made the decision early on to treat all positive cases at the Bend hospital and we are continuing to follow this practice. We have 24 ICU beds in Bend and six in Redmond for a total of 30 throughout the health system. So, while having five COVID-19 patients in the ICU may seem like it’s not too big of a deal, it is important to remember that many patients need ICU care for other reasons like heart attacks, strokes or car accidents.

Today, 20 of our 30 ICU beds in the system are occupied.

When virus numbers climb, we do become concerned about the long-term impact on our patients, caregivers and community. This is where your actions continue to make a huge difference in our success. We appreciate all those of you who are doing your part to stay home when possible, wear a mask when in public, wash your hands frequently and physically distance from those not in your immediate households.

Just like you, we at St. Charles are learning how to live in this next phase of our reality. We must manage an ongoing response to the pandemic while also providing critical preventive care services, much-needed surgical services and more to our communities.

It is a never-ending balancing act – with the top priority being to keep our patients and caregivers safe.

Thank you for your ongoing support throughout this very difficult journey.  

Sincerely,  

Joe

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