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Providence bringing temporary morgues, surge tents to Portland-area hospitals

With COVID-19 cases surging and hospital capacity dwindling, Providence says that it is readying for the potentiality of overflowing hospitals in the Portland area.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 11:46 AM
Updated: Nov 20, 2020 11:50 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. — With coronavirus cases surging and hospital capacity dwindling in Oregon, Providence says that it is readying for the potentiality of overflowing hospitals in the Portland area.

In a statement, Providence addressed changes that some people may notice immediately at two of its largest hospitals, Providence Portland Medical Center and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center — namely, the arrival of temporary morgues and surge tents.

"Providence has made many changes to our services these past months to plan for and care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19," the medical provider said. "Though treatments have improved and more patients are surviving COVID-19, we need to extend our limited morgue capacity so that we can respectfully handle all patients who die."

Providence said that it will set up two large, temporary mortuary trailers in Portland in case they are needed. There will be chaplains on hand to bless the trailers when they arrive, and aid in ensuring that the dead are honored and respected.

The hospitals still plan to utilize existing morgues and partner funeral homes first, but are planning for the potential of a worst-case scenario in the event that the situation becomes as dire as it has in other areas of the country.

"This is another reason why it is so important for everyone to follow the known steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19: wear masks, maintain social distancing, limit or avoid social gatherings, stay home as much as possible and wash your hands," Providence said.


RELATED: Local hospitals are running out of beds


Surge tents are being set up outside of the emergency departments at Providence Portland and Providence St. Vincent, allowing additional space for those coming in to seek emergency care. They'll also be used to conduct assessments and socially distanced waiting space.

"When you say flatten the curve, what we’re really trying to say is, 'allow us to do our jobs,'" said Dr. Justin Jin, infectious disease physician at Providence Portland. "We realize people are going to get sick, but if you completely overrun the hospital system, you’re going to have more COVID deaths, and you’re also going to have more deaths from other causes."

Providence said that it is currently caring for 90 people in its Oregon hospitals with either confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus. As of the Oregon Health Authority's latest report, 414 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are currently hospitalized at facilities across the state — 96 in ICU beds, and 37 on ventilators.

"This is serious . . . serious for every person in this hospital," said Jaclyn Center, R.N. and associate nurse manager for critical care services. "We're all working hard, the patients are sick . . . we all want to see our family and friends, but in the long run, wouldn't you rather see them for more years to come?"

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 65170

Reported Deaths: 820
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah14988210
Washington881596
Marion8321127
Clackamas535376
Umatilla409948
Lane382037
Jackson335623
Malheur230839
Deschutes191114
Yamhill156516
Linn126018
Polk105115
Douglas80415
Jefferson76511
Benton7097
Union6912
Klamath6854
Morrow6197
Lincoln56313
Wasco47218
Josephine4314
Columbia4223
Coos3831
Hood River3611
Clatsop3330
Baker2573
Crook1906
Grant1221
Tillamook1110
Curry1052
Lake980
Harney861
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
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