HEALTH CARE

Covid weekly report for Dec. 30: Cases rise in Marion County, hospital remains above capacity

Reports of new Covid cases increased in Marion County, and Salem Hospital is above 100% capacity as of Thursday. Cases decreased in Polk County and statewide, but testing positivity rates are on the rise.

In the past month, Gov. Kate Brown has issued several executive orders aiming to provide more resources to health care facilities amidst a sustained surge of Covid, flu and RSV cases. Salem Hospital again began diverting ambulances to other hospitals due to capacity issues after Thanksgiving, a temporary practice that is used as needed to manage hospital capacity.

HOSPITAL CAPACITY

As of Thursday, Dec. 29, Salem Hospital had 29 inpatients with Covid. Of those, three were in the ICU and one was on a ventilator.

424 of the 415 adult acute and critical care beds were in use, or 102%.

496 total hospital beds were in use on Thursday. The hospital recently expanded its licensed bed capacity from 494 to 644 with the addition of a new tower, but that total includes every potential licensed bed at Salem Hospital including those dedicated to specific uses, like pediatrics, inpatient psychiatry, and labor and delivery.

The daily number of hospitalized Covid patients has been between 26 and 30 patients over the past week through Thursday, according to Lisa Wood, Salem Health spokeswoman. Last week, the number was between 21 and 28. 

Region 2, which is Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, had 55 people hospitalized with Covid as of Dec. 28 compared with 42 the week prior and 46 two weeks ago.

CASES

For the week ending Dec. 28, the average daily number of new Covid cases reported decreased statewide and in Polk County, and increased in Marion County compared to the week prior.

Marion County: 38.7 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 78.1 cases per 100,000 residents.

That’s up from 34.7 average daily cases last week and below the average of 43.7 two weeks ago.

9.7% of Covid tests this week were positive, up from 7.1% last week and 7.6% two weeks ago.

The Oregon Health Authority reported two newly identified deaths of county residents with Covid in the past week.

Polk County: 10 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 78.7 cases per 100,000 residents. 

That’s down from 12 average daily cases last week and 16.9 two weeks ago.

12.1% of Covid tests this week were positive, an increase from 9.2% last week.

The Oregon Health Authority reported zero newly identified deaths of a county resident with Covid in the past week.

Oregon: 472 new cases per day on average, down from 485 average daily cases last week and 616 two weeks ago; 10.4% of tests were positive, up from 7.6% last week.

VACCINATION AND BREAKTHROUGH CASES

The Oregon Health Authority has a data dashboard showing trends in cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status, updated on the second Wednesday of each month. 

The most recent data as of Dec. 5 shows Covid infection, hospitalization and death rates continue to be highest among Oregonians not vaccinated against Covid compared with those vaccinated as recommended, which includes a booster shot.

In October, the state recorded eight deaths with Covid per 100,000 unvaccinated adult Oregonians, compared to two deaths per 100,000 adults vaccinated as recommended. Hospitalization rates in October were 50 per 100,000 unvaccinated adults compared to 18 per 100,000 vaccinated as recommended.

The data will next be published in mid-January.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.