Skip to main content

GRH addresses uptick in hospitalizations due to increase of respiratory illnesses

Hospital news | Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Contact: Mardi Ford

Grande Ronde Hospital and Clinics (GRH) has seen an increase in hospitalizations this week specifically due to the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). In addition, Union County is experiencing an increase in both the new COVID variant and influenza cases. GRH specifically is now experiencing an uptick of patients presenting with respiratory illness symptoms in our clinics, particularly in our Urgent Care and our emergency department. GRH needs our community’s help to stop the current spread of these illnesses. Stay home and avoid gatherings if you are experiencing any respiratory illness symptoms (see table below for both mild and severe symptoms). Keep your children home from school or day care if they have symptoms. All of these simple steps will help curb this current spread.

“The majority of these RSV hospitalizations are children,” says Medical Staff President and Hospitalist Blake Gornowicz, MD. “In order to ensure we do not overwhelm hospital capacity we are asking for our community’s help. There is serious concern over the severity of the current situation spreading across Oregon. We’d like to be proactive here in Union County, and there are simple things we can all do to stay healthy and keep our hospitalizations down.”

GRH’s Chief Nursing Officer Karen Timm, MSN, RN, wholeheartedly agrees with Dr. Gornowicz, adding the best thing our community can do to help is follow basic common sense for good health hygiene.

“We are here to care for you when you need us, but we prefer to keep you healthy and out of the hospital. Please practice basic good health hygiene, and seek advice from your primary care provider for any concerns or questions. If you or your child’s symptoms are severe, do not hesitate to seek medical care,” advises Timm.

Basic good health hygiene includes washing your hands regularly, not touching your face, and sneezing or coughing into an elbow or tissue. You may want to consider wearing a mask again – especially if you are going to be in a crowded area. If you are already experiencing respiratory illness symptoms, stay home and avoid gatherings. Keep your children home from school or day care if they have symptoms. These simple steps will help curb this current spread. Please see the table below for mild and severe respiratory illness symptoms.

In addition, we would like to remind everyone that GRH has a strong commitment to surge planning and emergency operations to ensure we can care for all those who need our services. In doing our part to protect our community’s access to care, the first decision we made was to initiate our Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) on November 15th. This allows us to focus specifically on RSV surge planning. We have also been meeting with our public health partners at the Center for Human Development (CHD) and will continue to do so as long as it is needed.

Union County has shown that we can come together for the good of our entire community, just as we did throughout 2019-21 when the initial COVID-19 wave hit and again as the Delta variant surged. We know that our community understands if the hospital is at capacity and our emergency services are overwhelmed, the potential strain to providing medical care in the event of accidents or emergencies is something we want to avoid. While we are prepared to handle both planned care and unplanned emergencies, we would appreciate your support to help us with this current concern. Please review the table below.

Here are a few simple things to watch for as you do your part to help your community stay healthy and your local community hospital avoid a strain on capacity. Please note that RSV symptoms depend on the severity, age and health of the infected person.