A trio of institutions dedicated to health care are joining forces to help the public control the spread of COVID-19.
Providence Newberg Medical Center, Willamette Valley Medical Center and Yamhill County urged the public, including local businesses and workers, to follow established guidelines for controlling the virus that has taken its toll on the county, state, country and world.
"As new infection numbers surge due to the Delta variant, it's vital that people who are experiencing COVID symptoms, or believe they have been exposed to the virus, practice proper isolation and quarantine to help prevent spreading the illness to others," a release crafted by the organizations said.
Those individuals who are either not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated and have had contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days, the release said. In addition, those who develop symptoms such as cough, fever and chills should call the county's public health department at 971-326-8718 for information on testing.
"If symptoms are severe (difficulty breathing, becoming confused or especially hard to wake, persistent chest pain or developing bluish lips/face), go to a hospital emergency room or call 911," the release continued.
Steps for vaccinated individuals that have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 are much simpler. Those people need not isolate at home unless they develop symptoms such as cough, fever and chills, in which case they should call the county public health department for information on testing. A complete guide on isolation and testing is available at www.co.yamhill.or.us.
The surge in cases of late, due primarily to the arrival of the Delta variant, has placed undo demand on local hospitals and urgent care clinics, prompting officials to urge people not to seek testing at those venues.
"Hospital resources must be reserved for the sick and injured," the release said.
Ultimately, the trio of health care organization said, putting the pandemic behind us is simple: "Your local health care providers remind all residents that the best defense against the illness is vaccination, which is available from multiple providers."
"It's so depressing as a doctor to see and treat 30 year olds that were previously healthy, unvaccinated, and then having to intubate them from something that is so preventable," Dr. Tom Johnson, PNMC director of emergency medicine, said. "Our current volumes are creating a backlog in the hospital because we have to wait for beds to open up. That means caring for patients for long periods of time in the emergency department and that's not ideal."
Locally, the numbers illustrate the need for the public to be vigilant. As of Aug. 24, PNMC had six Covid-19 patients and had treated about 120 patients since March 2020, according to spokesman Mike Antrim. The facility's four-bed intensive care unit (ICU)) had three patients as of Aug. 24 and "we have the ability to expand it based on volume," he said.
"We need to protect our kids, especially while they are in the classroom and wearing a mask is scientifically proven as the best defense to slowing the spread of COVID-19," PNMC Chief Executive Joe Yoder said. "Providence is here for our community and we need the help of everyone to get through this current surge."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.