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Coronavirus Watch: Jackson County's field hospital request replaced by additional staffing, for now

The local request for a field hospital to serve Region 5's overburdened hospital capacity is being met with an influx of additional medical staff instead, the Oregon Health Authority said.

Posted: Aug 26, 2021 5:08 PM
Updated: Aug 26, 2021 5:14 PM

SALEM, Ore. — A request from local officials for the establishment of a field hospital in Jackson County will not be filled for the time being, a spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority told NewsWatch 12 on Thursday. Instead, the needs of overburdened hospitals in the Rogue Valley will be met with additional staffing.

Jackson County Public Health and the local hospital systems have been requesting help from state and federal agencies since at least August 11 — which included requests for crucial supplies like ventilators, more healthcare staff, and places to put patients that are currently crowding hospitals.

The field hospital was one of those requests, which has since been making its way up the ladder to federal agencies like Health & Human Services and FEMA. Jackson County public health officials have said that requests for ventilators have been filled quickly. The rest has been harder to come by.

According to Jonathan Modie, lead communications officer for the Oregon Health Authority, the field hospital has been placed on the backburner as the state works to fill the staffing need.

"The field hospital request has changed to medical staff augmentation," Modie said. "Conditions change continually as we work with our FEMA and HHS partners, our hospital partners and others in order to best respond."

Part of that need will be filled by the new state contracts with medical staffing companies announced by Governor Kate Brown's office on Wednesday, promising about 560 personnel, on top of the National Guard service members already deployed to help with logistics.

"Medical staff would focus primarily in central and southern Oregon, where the need is currently greatest, although they could be re-deployed as needs change statewide," Modie continued.

The staffing approach is two-fold — while some of the hospital crisis teams will be sent to healthcare centers like Asante and Providence, others will be sent to long-term care facilities where patients who are stable but still recovering from COVID-19 illnesses can go, clearing up room at the hospitals.

Modie said that a team from HHS was in Oregon early this week to conduct assessments in both southern and central Oregon. OHA is hopeful this means that they will see more federal resources, but those are stretched thin as well because "many states are struggling."

On top of the nurses and other healthcare staff contracted to help in the hardest-hit areas of the state, Modie said that the state will receive 24 EMT-paramedics through the FEMA National Ambulance Contract to support seven hospital Emergency Departments as "extenders." They arrived in the state on Sunday, and are now at work in hospitals around the state.

Currently there are five paramedics from this group at Asante Rogue Regional, five at Asante Three Rivers, and four at Providence Medford Medical Center. They are expected to stay at these hospitals through September 20, with an opportunity for extension.

Modie said that the paramedics came from all over the US, and are primarily serving in Emergency Departments as techs or to support as techs on other floors as needed.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 391099

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60298839
Washington41981395
Marion39886506
Clackamas32773378
Lane30113355
Jackson24880360
Deschutes23557185
Umatilla15126180
Linn14637179
Douglas13375291
Josephine10148244
Yamhill9762143
Klamath9053146
Polk8212100
Benton609738
Malheur592487
Coos5664106
Columbia430455
Jefferson420266
Lincoln362152
Union338755
Crook334056
Wasco316146
Clatsop261835
Baker219833
Tillamook216645
Hood River213737
Morrow197525
Curry191939
Harney119933
Grant108515
Lake105416
Wallowa75713
Sherman1913
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5083462

Reported Deaths: 74473
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152713227166
San Diego4069274335
Riverside3876785358
San Bernardino3745435962
Orange3343985725
Sacramento1683542443
Kern1576621804
Fresno1567952254
Santa Clara1520891925
Alameda1251761504
San Joaquin1075591834
Ventura1040031190
Contra Costa1037721046
Stanislaus915481417
Tulare860871096
San Francisco56909669
San Mateo56320629
Monterey52488626
Solano47671357
Santa Barbara47293549
Merced45053667
Sonoma43168412
Placer42141470
Imperial38477773
Kings35206363
San Luis Obispo31476359
Madera26194311
Shasta26081451
Butte25455314
Santa Cruz22248224
Yolo21558257
Marin18465249
El Dorado18301166
Sutter14571186
Napa13420104
Yuba1076089
Tehama10275130
Humboldt10158119
Nevada10019105
Mendocino857197
Lassen796756
San Benito781578
Tuolumne773090
Lake7043110
Amador577366
Siskiyou474755
Glenn457436
Calaveras441588
Del Norte375542
Colusa325220
Inyo256646
Plumas19367
Mono18784
Mariposa160018
Trinity99717
Modoc7655
Unassigned3220
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
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