Central OregonOregon Health Authority gives update on COVID-19, Novavax vaccine, monkeypox virus

Oregon Health Authority gives update on COVID-19, Novavax vaccine, monkeypox virus

Oregon Health Authority gives update on COVID-19, Novavax vaccine, monkeypox virus

(Updated: adding video, comments from state epidemiologist)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The fight against COVID-19 continues as new variants appear and hospitals still struggle with staffing shortages. The Oregon Health Authority held a public media briefing Wednesday morning on the current status of COVID-19, as well as the monkeypox virus.

OHA officials said daily cases of COVID-19 across Oregon have leveled from June to July. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer and epidemiologist at OHA, answered questions and gave an update on the state’s pandemic response.

Sidelinger explained that hospitalizations have climbed and the omicron subvariant BA.5 isn’t helping. While people are still ending up in the hospital, there are fewer than during the delta and omicron waves. But Sidelinger also said there are still unknowns surrounding the BA.5.

“We are monitoring the percentage of folks who are in the hospital with COVID-19, who wind up in the ICU, and the percentage seems to be trending up a little bit,” he said. “Indicating that there may be increased severity with BA.5.”

As of Wednesday, Deschutes County has 84 new COVID-19 cases and two new deaths.

Sidelinger highlighted the struggles hospitals across the state are facing, focusing on St. Charles.

“In Central Oregon, I think the hospital system is more stressed than they are in the rest of the state,” he said. “St. Charles Health System in Bend has definitely been working through many staffing challenges and strains on their system.”

“The OHA continues to have conversations with them about things we can do together and things they can do on their own to help with those strains,” Sidelinger said, adding that the capacity for hospital beds exists — it’s the staff that doesn’t.

Through the state’s pandemic response, the OHA wants to highlight the burnout health care workers continue to experience.

“The skilled staff, nurses, physicians, therapists, and all the others who need to care for those patients are on limited supply from direct impacts from COVID-19 right now,” Sidelinger said. “As well as burnout and exhaustion from these past 2 1/2 years.”

You can watch the recorded OHA livestream here:

The post Oregon Health Authority gives update on COVID-19, Novavax vaccine, monkeypox virus appeared first on KTVZ.

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