Portland area health systems urge caution ahead of July 4th weekend

With high demand in area emergency departments, Portland area health care officials are urging people to exercise caution ahead of the July 4th bank holiday weekend and reserve the emergency room for real emergencies. (OHSU / Fritz Liedtke)

With the July 4th weekend on the horizon, we’re coming together as Portland area health systems leaders to encourage people to do their part to reduce the high demand on hospital emergency departments. .

Kaiser Permanente, OHSU Health, Providence Health & Services and Legacy Health have worked together to manage record heat in addition to already high demand that is straining the capacity of hospitals in the region. Our common goal is to ensure the health and well-being of the communities we serve.

We normally expect high case loads in our emergency departments starting on the holiday weekend. This year, it will be even more important to exercise caution. This means that we ask people to be careful of fireworks and to observe bans put in place by local agencies, to practice water safety, to avoid drinking alcohol in hot weather and to drink. lots of water.

We are grateful to emergency medical technicians who worked in extreme heat conditions throughout the weekend and Monday to respond to a record volume of cases – mostly related to people with heat-related illnesses. . In many cases, the heat has exacerbated existing underlying health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

At the same time, hospitals are at or near capacity. Although COVID-19 cases have declined overall, we still have many COVID-19 patients occupying hospital beds. In addition, the demand for surgery has generally increased due to the delay in care due to the pandemic.

We ask everyone to do their part: Ask primary care providers about your urgent health care needs – or visit the nearest emergency care clinic – and book the emergency room for the real ones. emergency room.

Hospitals are doing their part to manage the high demand. Through careful coordinated management of inpatient volume and assessment of elective surgeries, we will continue to meet the health needs of our region. We have postponed some surgical cases that require postoperative hospitalization in hospital, and we will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis.

We are grateful for the public’s support in staying safe as we come together to celebrate Independence Day.

Please be careful and thank you for your continued support.

Renée Edwards, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, OHSU Health

Mary E. Giswold, MD, FACS, Associate Medical Director, Hospitals and Post-Acute Care, Kaiser Permanente Northwest

Melinda Muller, MD, Acting Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Legacy Health

Kevin Olson, MD, Clinical and Operations Director, Providence Health & Services – Oregon

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