Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, Sept. 24 @ 4:25 p.m.

(VIDEO) Curry County Health Officials Discuss Delta Variant Impact

Like its neighbor to the south, Curry County appears on the waning edge of a surge in COVID-19 cases that stressed its medical system.

However, though it implemented a surge plan that included establishing an extended labor pool and received help from the Oregon National Guard, the Curry Health Network never went over its capacity, CEO Ginny Williams said.

At a town hall meeting Wednesday hosted by the Wild Rivers Community Foundation on how the recent surge in coronavirus cases impacted Curry County healthcare facilities, schools and tribal agencies, Williams said that because the Curry Health Network is a critical access hospital, its nurses aren’t trained in intensive care unit-level care.

“If patients were being transferred out of our facility it was because we could not care for their needs,” she said. “Maybe they were stroke-related, maybe they were a COVID patient. When neighboring hospitals were also seeing extraordinary capacity issues, transfers were definitely slower than we would like to see.”

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Curry County has seen 1,661 COVID-19 cases as of Sept. 17, or 7,068 cases per capita, according to Danna Drum, strategic partnerships lead with the Oregon Health Authority. There have been 17 deaths since the pandemic began and 62 hospitalizations in Curry County, Drum said.

Curry Health Network administered its highest number of tests and saw the highest test-postivity rate last month, according to Williams.

Curry County saw 190 cases the week of Aug. 15 with a test positivity rate of 20.5 percent. There were 111 cases identified the week of Aug. 22, making for a 15 percent test positivity rate. The week of Aug. 29 saw 117 cases in Curry County and a test positivity rate of 13.3 percent. The case count decreased to 70 the week of Sept. 5 with a test positivity rate of 12.4 percent, according to Williams.

Williams noted that with 1,661 COVID-19 cases in Curry County, one out of 14 tested positive at some point during the pandemic.

“It’s likely every single one of us has been touched or knows someone who has been touched by this pandemic,” she said.

The Curry Health Network also administered the most COVID tests and had the highest test positivity rate during the month of August, Williams said.

People shouldn’t go to the emergency department to get tested unless they’re seeking emergency medical attention, she said. She also urged people to remain in their car when arriving for a test, especially if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

“We have a standing order from the state that allows any person with symptoms or exposure to be tested at Curry Health Network with no need for a (referral) from a provider,” Williams said. “Either go to our website and there’s a form we ask you to fill out and we’ll call you to make an appointment time, or if you do not have access to the Internet, call (541) 412-2000.”

Meanwhile, 52.2 percent of Curry County adults have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Drum said. About 60.7 percent have received at least one dose of the two-dose inoculations, she said.
Drum urged people to visit or call 211 to find out where they can get a COVID-19 shot.


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