My heart sank when I saw these headlines and numbers just yesterday, Tuesday, August 17:
Oregon surpasses another sad milestone, shattering previous number of new cases
Oregon reports 2,941 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 15 new deaths
These are RECORD BREAKING, HEART BREAKING numbers.
As someone who is immunocompromised, AND a healthcare provider, here is what I have to share.
It’s been another busy and frightening week in the ongoing saga of the pandemic here in Oregon. Nearly every day brings a new record for our state — and not the kind of record we want to achieve. Unlike our experience during most of the pandemic — when Oregon was one of the national leaders in taking COVID seriously, keeping ourselves and our neighbors safe, with infection rates and COVID deaths far below the national average — the combination of Delta, and the unfounded relief at seeing restrictions lifted has sent us down a very dangerous path.
This Tuesday’s record number of new COVID cases, along with the greatest number of Oregonians in the hospital and ICU with COVID, and sadly news of the death of a 19-year-old young woman in Union County shows very clearly the dangerous trajectory we are on.
The increase has set a new record for hospitalizations in Oregon since the beginning of the pandemic. As hospitals across the state have come closer to reaching full capacity amid rising case numbers, Gov. Kate Brown announced a new statewide mask mandate effective last Friday.
Hospitals and emergency rooms are over capacity.
A new forecast from OHSU shows us running out of hospital beds and the professionals to staff them in the very near future if the current trends persist. As a result, the governor has taken some dramatic steps to once again get us back on track, since county officials lacked the political will to take steps to help keep us safe.
A medical professional told me this past week that if you called an
ambulance today in Portland you would be taken to Eugene! One hour and 40 minutes away, because the Emergency Departments in Portland are so full. If you or a loved one were to have a medical emergency, in the current situation, it is likely the hospital systems cannot accommodate you given the overwhelm the system is experiencing with COVID patients, the bulk of which are unvaccinated.
Come on Oregon, we can do better than this!
Vaccinations help against the Delta strain, but not 100%.
The one silver lining here is that those who have been vaccinated are remaining safe from serious consequences in nearly all cases. With the relentless spread of the Delta variant, we’re certainly seeing more infection among both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, but it’s the unvaccinated who are filling up our ICUs and causing us to run out of beds.
Please note that small pox and polio (2 highly infectious diseases) were not eradicated by herd immunity, but rather by vaccines! Vaccines save lives!
Fully vaccinated folks are walking around thinking they’re 95 percent protected from the virus, but with the Delta variant raging across the country, that number is actually more like 50 – 60 percent, according to the Mayo Clinic and The New England Journal of Medicine. The Delta Variant is a complete game changer. Let me repeat, the Delta Variant is a complete game changer. (Please click here to see my previous post about fully vaccinated people catching COVID outdoors.)
The longer such a dangerous and highly contagious variant is allowed to persist in our population (largely due to the unvaccinated), the more and more likely it becomes that even more threatening and deadly variants have the opportunity to evolve and spread. We will go right through the Greek alphabet without more people receiving vaccinations. Not a good prognosis for humankind.
As the Delta variant continues to drive an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across Oregon, experts say kids are at a greater risk.
In July, the Oregon Health Authority reported that kids under the age of 12 accounted for 9.4% of COVID-19 cases. This means that of the 13,575 cases reported in July, 1,276 were children. Experts say this number could be much higher given that children often don’t show symptoms or even know they’re infected.
Dr. Becky Riggs, an intensive care doctor at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, says parents should be aware of a potentially life-threatening condition often linked to COVID-19 cases in children called multisystem inflammatory syndrome. “Some children, it affects their brain, it can cause brain swelling. In some children, it causes a lot of vomiting, diarrhea, bad belly pain. Some children it can cause respiratory failure or lung congestion. And one of the most life-threatening is it can affect how the heart works,” Riggs said.
And the start of the new school year is just around the corner, with no vaccine available for children under the age of 12. Until a vaccine is approved for children under the age of 12, it is up to those of us who can get vaccinated, to do so, and protect our youth. Period.
On a positive note, the FDA has just approved the use of a third dose for those who are immune-compromised. Hundreds if not thousands of Oregonians will at last get the full benefit of vaccination and be able to form the antibodies that they need to keep them safe.
All of this said, I am sick of this. You should be too.
We are back to indoor masking and six-foot distancing. Frustrated parents are having to cope with ever-changing back-to-school rules. Restaurateurs, small businesses and airline executives sweat and fret, while conservative governors posture and provoke.
As our COVID culture wars drag on, the virus thrives, not caring what political ideology you adhere to.
Even Lindsey Graham knows that his breakthrough COVID “would be far worse” without vaccination. He’s also been wearing a mask, so here’s a toast to you, senator!
Another example is Senator Mitch McConnell, the nation’s highest ranking Republican, who is airing an ad across 100 radio stations in his state urging people to get vaccinated. In the 60-second ad, obtained by CNN, McConnell references his personal experience with polio, recalling how as a young boy he “faced a different disease. I contracted polio,” and “back then, it took decades for us to develop a vaccine.” He called the creation of three safe and highly effective Covid-19 vaccines in less than a year “nothing short of a modern medical miracle.”
“Every American should take advantage of this miracle and get vaccinated. It’s the only way we’re going to defeat Covid,” McConnell says in the advertisement. Here’s a toast to you, Senator McConnell!
There are free vaccine resources available.
In light of a surge in new COVID-19 cases, Oregon health officials have reinstated mask mandates for indoor public places, effective last Friday. They also are continuing to urge the unvaccinated to get vaccines quickly to try to stem the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus. Vaccines are available at no charge for Oregonians age 12 and up.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, The vaccines will be provided at no cost to you. You do not need health insurance. There is no need to bring identification, social security number or health insurance to your vaccine appointment. Vaccine providers may ask if you live in Oregon.
- Go here to find out a vaccine provider close to you
- Retail pharmacies, such as Fred Meyer, Walgreens, Costco, Albertsons-Safeway, also are offering free COVID-19 vaccines.
- Check with your local pharmacy to find out if they are offering COVID-19 vaccines.
- Call 503.988.8939 or 211 for help
- Visit a free vaccine clinic in your area:
If you are an established patient with me, there have been NO changes in my procedures and protocols for COVID-19.
- My waiting area remains closed.
- No one is allowed to enter the clinic without my permission.
- All patients are required to be double-masked and have masks in place before entering my clinic.
Any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
I have had a number of people in the past week taking liberties with my protections/protocols – this is not okay. Nothing has changed nor will anything change in the foreseeable future.
Though I am not a whiner, I want you all to note, that while I am caring for you, I am immunocompromised. I continue to provide care because I have trust and faith in my patients to do their part to protect me, as I take full and complete action to protect you. Please consider this.
I care about each of you very much. All my best to all of you.
Please stay safe, and keep each other safe.