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COVID-19 Pandemic Takes Oregon Healthcare System to the Edge

Oregon health-care system has long been admired around the country. A considerable portion of the population was enrolled in managed care groups. The Oregon Health Plan, which was conceived in the 1990s, increased access to care for the working poor.

The system was extremely lean. Primary and preventative care were prioritised by reformers, allowing the state to operate with the fewest hospital beds per capita in the country.Then there was the most recent coronavirus outbreak. With the Delta variety spreading across the state, a lack of beds has become an issue.

The situation is especially perplexing because, on paper, Oregon looks to be in relatively excellent shape when compared to other states.It has reported an average of 49 new cases per 100,000 people per day over the last week, slightly higher than the national rate but less than half of the rates in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, the hardest-hit states.Oregon has the 22nd highest hospitalisation rate and the 20th highest death rate in the country.

The severity of the rise, however, is exacerbated by the fact that Oregon has only 1.6 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, compared to a national average of 2.8, and a dearth of healthcare employees to staff them. Each nurse was responsible for seven or eight patients instead of the normal four.The three hospitals that make up the Asante health system in the state’s hard-hit rural southwest section were more than 90% full — and that was after they increased the total number of beds from 550 to 650 by modifying single rooms to doubles.

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