On Sunday, Nov. 22, Oregon marked the third straight day of a record-breaking high of new COVID-19 cases, while Nov. 19 set a record for the number of hospitalizations, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
The coronavirus is ripping through Oregon’s communities at a staggering rate. COVID-19 is real, and its effects are not overstated.
Oregon’s hospitals are nearing their capacities, taxing the available intensive care unit (ICU) beds and staff. Frontline responders are tired due to the pandemic’s impact, and some of the supplies we need to care for you are once again becoming limited.
Our state’s nurses, physicians, physician assistants, and hospitals all urge Oregonians not to gather in person with others from outside their own households on Thanksgiving, and throughout the coming holiday season. At this time, in-person social gatherings are dangerous and irresponsible. Until a safe and effective vaccine is widely available, our best advice to our patients and to all Oregonians is this: celebrate the holidays safely with only those who live in your own home.
Failing this, if you do plan to come into contact with others, we know that keeping gatherings small with six feet of physical distance, wearing masks, and frequent handwashing is the best course of action.
If Oregon's case numbers do not slow and reverse, we will struggle to provide the best possible care for you and those you love, and not just for COVID-19. Limited resources and staff will affect our ability to provide chemotherapy for cancer treatment, emergency surgery for a heart attack or severe infection, or possibly even a safe place to deliver a baby.
Oregon's nurses, physicians, physician assistants, and hospitals need your help in order to do our jobs well. As we head into a new year and conceive of the potential for a better 2021, we urge responsible celebration this holiday season to prevent death and hospitalization.