Local News

Columbia Memorial Hospital cancels elective surgeries as COVID spikes

Astoria, OR – With COVID-19 cases on the unfortunate upswing both nationally and statewide, Columbia Memorial Hospital is canceling elective surgeries and converting more rooms to negative pressure environments to help ensure beds are available for those who need care.

Cases in Oregon are rapidly rising, and data released by OHSU predicts that by Labor Day, the state could be short 400-500 needed staffed hospital beds. According to the forecast, at the same time, more than 1,000 Oregon COVID patients will require hospitalization. If that happens, there will not be enough beds to accommodate their care.

“Maintaining open inpatient beds for emergencies, as well as COVID-19 patients, requires that all elective procedures be delayed at this time,” said Erik Thorsen, CEO.

A panel consisting of the chief medical officer (CMO), vice president of patient care services, and surgeons will make a determination of what surgeries are necessary and what can be rescheduled for a later date. CMH will try to give patients as much notice as possible before canceling a scheduled surgery.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of vaccination and masking,” said Dr. Chris Strear, CMO. “The most serious COVID cases we are treating are those who are unvaccinated.”

It is essential that those who have COVID and are not yet showing symptoms or are only mildly ill should quarantine in their homes. Only those with severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, becoming confused or especially hard to wake, persistent chest pain/pressure, or developing bluish lips/face should seek care at the Emergency Department.