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COVID-19 Rising Again In Central Oregon

BEND, OR -- St. Charles is again seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. As of Monday morning, six COVID patients are in the ICU; in total, 37 patients are positive for the virus - although, not all those patients are in the hospital because of COVID. Dr. Cynthia Maree says when that number gets over 15, the system is impacted. "We do see in the community that our test positivity is still running very high, in the 20s [percent]," says Dr. Maree, "Meaning that we do have a lot of COVID in our community right now. We can see that also from the wastewater analysis."

The extremely contagious Omicron sub-variant known as BA.5 is now the prominent strain of COVID in Central Oregon. Dr. Maree is the Medical Director for Infection Prevention at St. Charles. She tells KBND News she’s seen an uptick in cases in the past few weeks, "Almost everybody I know has COVID or has had it recently, so there’s definitely a lot of people sick with COVID-19 right now." She adds, "I don’t want to be sick and I don’t want my family members to be sick, so it’s concerning. But, also encouraging that we’re not seeing the severe peaks that we saw before, and that vaccinations seem to be holding up and giving us some community protection."

While a lot of people are getting COVID, most don't need to be hospitalized. "What we are definitely seeing is a muted response to a very contagious variant, because of the underlying vaccination level we have in the area and the prior infections people have had," says Dr. Maree, "This variant is very good at getting around our immunizations we have developed."

Dr. Maree again recommends everyone wear a mask indoors, "And we do know those indoor settings are our highest risk. You know, everybody’s gotta make their own risk assessment. But, as a population, it’s best for our community that we all take those precautions indoors."

St. Charles Urgent Care Launches "Test to Treat"

St. Charles officials urge people who think they might have COVID and are at risk for severe illness to visit an urgent care clinic where they can be tested and potentially receive on-site treatment through the federal "test to treat" program. Click HERE for more information. 

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