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Roseburg Hospital Postponing Some Surgeries As COVID-19 Patient Load Strains Facility

Alachua County (public domain)

Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg says it’s postponing some non-emergency surgeries due to a rapid increase in the number of coronavirus patients.



The hospital says the current rate of new patients threatens to paralyze the facility by mid-September.


"While we continue to balance outpatient surgical cases with our normal acute practices, the dramatic increase in COVID rates at the community level, has translated into an enormous rise in Emergency Department utilization, and a high volume of infected unvaccinated patients being admitted to the hospital for intensive treatment," read a statement from the hospital that was released Thursday via the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. 


"In practical terms, if the trend does not improve, the Life Care Team might be confronted with the painful task of prioritizing treatment, according to who would medically benefit the most from the care being provided."


A statement from the Douglas County Board of Commissioners urged county residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, if they haven’t already. The vast majority of people hospitalized at Mercy Medical Center are unvaccinated.


According to the Oregon Health Authority, Douglas County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state.  


Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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