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Lane County sees "significant increase" in COVID hospitalizations, says top health official

A person lies in a hospital bed.
File photo
Lane County hospitals have seen a significant uptick in severe COVID-19 cases over the past week.

The number of severe COVID-19 cases in Lane County is on the rise as Oregon awaits delivery of the new vaccine and booster.

Senior Public Health Officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke confers regularly with officials at McKenzie-Willamette and PeaceHealth hospitals. He said COVID hospitalizations have increased in just the past week.

“We’ve had, for most of the summer, three to five people in the hospital if you combine all of the hospitalizations for COVID amongst our five hospitals,” said Luedtke. “And this week, we have 20. So we’ve gone from one handful of people in the hospital with COVID to four handfuls. That’s a significant increase.”

Luedtke said the uptick in severe disease could be due to waning immunity among people who are further away from their last infection or booster. He said Public Health departments expect the newest COVID vaccine and booster doses to arrive by the end of September.

Luedtke said the new COVID vaccine booster available this fall appears to be a good match, effective against current variants. He added it’s especially important that people who never got a vaccine get in line for it because “COVID never really went away—it was just suppressed a little bit, and now it’s coming back.”

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked in a variety of media including television, technical writing, photography and daily print news before moving to the Pacific Northwest.
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