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Coronavirus Watch: Asante’s Critical Care and Emergency Departments are under siege

The nursing staff has never seen such a dire situation.

Posted: Aug 20, 2021 5:24 PM
Updated: Aug 25, 2021 3:03 PM

On Thursday, 14 patients filled the Critical Care Unit at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass. Each was suffering from COVID-19. Each needed a machine to breathe.

None has been vaccinated.

Few will leave the unit alive.

“I think the hardest thing is having a patient that is alert and oriented, and he knows he is not going to make it,” said Sadie Emond, a nurse in the CCU.

The surge of patients suffering from COVID-19 has caused Asante to double the number of beds in some rooms in the CCU, according to Laura Magstadt, RN, vice-president of nursing at the facility.

“Right now we are doubling up on patients in ICU rooms. I've been here for a long time and never seen anything like it, Emond said.

The CCU is not the only department feeling the impact of the surge of COVID-19.

Recently, a tent was set up outside the Emergency Department at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. The tent is used to care for people with low acuity health concerns, such as minor lacerations or sprains, when traffic to the emergency department is heavy.

The surge in COVID-19 patients has caused Asante’s Emergency Department to use other departments in the ED’s vicinity during periods when the patient intake is high.

“We’re a bit overrun with our numbers. I’ve been here for 12 years and it’s never been as busy as it has been the past couple of months. We hit the ground running for twelve and a half hours,” said Debra Henslee, an RN in the Emergency Department.

The influx of patients has caused the ED to store extra gurneys in hallways to help handle patient overload. On Thursday morning, those gurneys were empty, but they aren’t always.

“The hardest part lately has been trying to explain to people why they are waiting so long. It’s frustrating to have patients in the back, that are admitted patients in quite uncomfortable emergency room gurneys, to explain to them while they’re waiting for 24, up to 48 hours in an ER setting on a very uncomfortable gurney,” Henslee said.

Henslee and Emond have each been nurses for more than 10 years, and love their profession, even if it’s more difficult now than they’ve ever experienced.

“It’s hard to deal with the volume that we’ve been seeing and just feeling like we can’t do the level of care that we want to do seeing this many patients, and having this long of a wait has been really frustrating,” Henslee said.

“To walk in, it's our version of our own war room and war zone,” Emond said, adding, “I could not imagine doing this anywhere else. The team, the support, this is what's getting us through.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 345344

Reported Deaths: 4084
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54651678
Washington37724310
Marion35705439
Clackamas28835298
Lane26661291
Jackson22465297
Deschutes19252122
Umatilla14081139
Linn12200114
Douglas11664238
Josephine9174191
Yamhill8438108
Klamath7549106
Polk707380
Malheur542374
Benton521531
Coos481591
Columbia368143
Jefferson355650
Union309944
Lincoln306033
Wasco275839
Crook263643
Clatsop238027
Baker195628
Tillamook191926
Hood River186036
Morrow180223
Curry177019
Harney106424
Grant96512
Lake86910
Wallowa65712
Gilliam1484
Sherman1453
Wheeler941
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4802761

Reported Deaths: 70456
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147341026379
Riverside3689534978
San Diego3631694151
San Bernardino3558485562
Orange3224975513
Sacramento1574982273
Santa Clara1443001886
Fresno1437452048
Kern1437161600
Alameda1197741365
San Joaquin1016431696
Ventura1004421162
Contra Costa99102969
Stanislaus849231310
Tulare78753945
San Francisco53974644
San Mateo53781618
Monterey50676582
Solano45734334
Santa Barbara44770518
Merced41680577
Sonoma40638400
Placer38813412
Imperial35591762
Kings32197312
San Luis Obispo29590330
Madera23420281
Butte23298257
Shasta23230334
Santa Cruz20830217
Yolo20092247
Marin17570243
El Dorado16947149
Sutter13762169
Napa12797100
Yuba992780
Tehama9240103
Humboldt9085108
Nevada902590
Mendocino751686
Lassen743743
San Benito735972
Tuolumne671793
Lake6499103
Amador536763
Siskiyou442742
Glenn429930
Calaveras380279
Del Norte355739
Colusa301618
Inyo194239
Mono16285
Plumas15476
Mariposa126215
Trinity85811
Modoc6678
Sierra1710
Unassigned1480
Alpine1020
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