Media Room


Governor Kate Brown
Press Conference - Hospital Capacity
November 10, 2020

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us.

We’re here to give an update on COVID-19, and the challenges facing our hospitals as cases continue to spike, and hospitalizations rise. 

I’m joined by Dr. Dana Hargunani of the Oregon Health Authority, and Dr. Renee Edwards, Chief Medical Officer at  the Oregon Health & Science University.

On the phone we are joined by:
Dr. Jeff Absalon, Chief Medical Officer at St. Charles Hospital;
Dr. Jamie Grebosky, Chief Medical Officer at Asante; and
Jennifer Burns, Chief Nursing Officer at Providence SW.

We all know that COVID-19 cases are surging across Oregon. Over the weekend, we saw daily case rates near 1,000. And yesterday, I announced that 9 Oregon counties will now be starting a 2 Week Pause as of Wednesday on social activities to help slow the spread of COVID.

Our fears that this virus would spiral out of control when the colder months set in are becoming a frightening reality.

I’ve said this before, but from the outset, our goal has been to save lives and avoid overwhelming our health care systems. When people become ill we need to ensure there are enough hospital beds, PPE and staff to provide life-saving care. 

Today, I’ve brought together hospital leaders from across the state to give an update on where we’re at with our hospitals’ capacity, and how we are preparing to deal with a potential influx in hospitalizations.

This is serious.

Oregon is headed on the wrong road. While we have plans in place to share beds and ventilators, if necessary, that needs to be a last resort. We cannot, and should not, be relying on the fact that our hospital system can withstand a surge — but instead working together to ensure they don’t have to.

I need Oregonians to know that it is not too late to do the right thing. Every action we individually take: from wearing a mask, to staying home when you feel under the weather, to truly limiting your social interactions, can make a huge difference.

Your actions can save someone else’s life. You may be spreading the disease and not know it. Lives are at stake. 

I will now turn it over to Dr. Hargunani to give an update on the COVID situation in Oregon, and we’ll then pass it over to the Chief Medical and Nursing Officers to share updates from their hospitals.

Dr. Hargunani…