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Lake Oswego, Ore. – April 27, 2021 – Becky Hultberg, President and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS), released the following statement on hospital capacity and the Governor’s movement of counties to the extreme risk category.

“The evidence is clear. Oregon is experiencing a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, with case counts up almost 60% over the past two weeks. Hospitalizations are increasing as well, to over 300 on Monday. Despite this trend, Oregon’s Portland area hospitals remain prepared for a potential surge of patients.

“As the pandemic emerged last year, hospitals around the state set up a regional structure for collaboration to assist each other in managing capacity. We are working together, coordinating bed space, supplies, and essential services, just as we have successfully done many times on previous challenges like PPE and vaccinations. We remain committed and confident that we can manage this by working collaboratively, while continuing to care for patients who need necessary non-urgent procedures.

“Oregon has among the lowest overall case counts and deaths of all states, but our cases are now growing faster than almost any other state. We can’t let our guard down now. We support the Governor in making tough choices to control the virus in our communities and get us safely through this pandemic. These choices have been necessary, but wrenching, especially for Oregon’s small businesses and we all need to support them in recovery. If the pace of vaccination continues, we will get through this together and expect to return to a summer with a more normal level of business and recreational activity.

“The most important step each of us can take to help keep our economy and schools open is to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. Vaccines are now available to every Oregonian age 16 and over, and they’re free. Please continue to wear your mask in public, wash your hands, and stay home if you are sick. Together, we can get through this latest wave of the pandemic.”

About OAHHS: Founded in 1934, OAHHS is a statewide, nonprofit trade association that works closely with local and national government leaders, business and citizen coalitions, and other professional health care organizations to enhance and promote community health and to continue improving Oregon’s innovative health care delivery system.