Omicron peak: Legacy foresees a return to record-setting hospitalizations

January 2022 Posted in Community, Your Health

By Brenna Wiegand

Like health systems across the country, Legacy Health, which includes Silverton Legacy Medical Center, is seeing a significant increase in visits and hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

As of Jan. 24, Legacy Health was caring for three times as many COVID-19 positive patients than just a month before. 

“The recent wave of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant is concerning,” Kristin Whitney, Public Relations Strategist for Legacy Health, said. 

“We anticipate seeing a steep rise of COVID+ patients in the coming weeks, with an Omicron peak expected by Feb. 1.

“Legacy and our health care colleagues are gravely concerned with the projected forecasts of hospitalizations given Oregon’s strained health care system,” Whitney said.

Legacy Health joins hospitals across the country in asking for the public’s help in protecting one another and saving sorely limited care resources for those who need them the most.

“If people can stick with it for another couple of weeks, it will help to ensure timely care for everyone who needs a hospital bed.” Peter Graven, Ph.D., director of the OHSU Office of Advanced Analytics, said. 

On Jan. 24 there were 1,045 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon, fast approaching the previous peak of 1,178 patients hospitalized statewide on Sept. 1, 2021, during the Delta surge.

It’s not new advice; rather a reminder to stay the course and a plea to take every opportunity to reduce the spread of COVID and its highly contagious Omicron variant. 

Advice, requests from Legacy Health

• Get vaccinated and boosted if you are eligible. Vaccines reduce infections, hospital stays and deaths for you, your family, and your community. Individuals who are boosted are less likely to transmit the virus.

• Wear a mask and consider upgrading to a surgical-grade mask. Due to the high transmissibility of Omicron, surgical masks such as N95s or KN95s offer better protection.

• Limit the possibility of exposures by not gathering indoors in large groups without masks. And please maintain physical distancing when possible.

Additionally, we ask everyone who is eligible to consider donating blood. Blood supplies in the Pacific Northwest are at critically low levels. Please visit Bloodworks Northwest to find out more about donating blood.

While we understand the frustration as people try to get a COVID-19 test, it’s important to remember that emergency departments are not places to get tested. Only visit the emergency room for a medical emergency.  

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms that are not severe:
Stay home, mask up and get tested when possible. 

If you are a Legacy Medical Group patient and are experiencing symptoms: Schedule a video visit with your primary care doctor for next steps.

If you do not have a primary care provider:  Schedule a virtual visit with Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care

You can now order free rapid antigen test from the federal government. Check Oregon Health Authority website for testing sites and events.

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