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OHSU coronavirus (COVID-19) response

Last updated Thursday, December 2, 2021
Aerial view of OHSU on Marquam Hill in Portland, Oregon.
Aerial of OHSU. (OHSU/Aaron Bieleck)

As of Thursday, Dec. 2

Patients hospitalized with COVID-19

  • OHSU: 21
  • Hillsboro Medical Center: 5
  • OHSU Hospital and OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center hospitalization details:
    • 20 Not Fully Vaccinated
    • 6 Fully Vaccinated
      • 6 de-isolated
      • 20 infectious
  • 12 Patients in ICU
    • 11 Not Fully Vaccinated
    • 1 Fully Vaccinated
  • 12 Patients on a Ventilator
    • 11 Not Fully Vaccinated
    • 1 Fully Vaccinated
  • Adventist Health Portland: 15

OHSU employee, student and volunteer vaccinations

OHSU has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 vaccination among hospitals and health systems regionwide, with more than 96% of OHSU members fully vaccinated, in compliance with OHSU policy and Oregon state law.

As of Nov. 18, 2021:

  • 21,951 OHSU members (employees, students and volunteers) are fully vaccinated and incompliance of OHSU vaccine policy
  • 43 members are partially vaccinated. These individuals have been placed on temporary leave until their vaccination series is complete.

As of Oct. 20, 2021:

  • 261 members were not compliant with OHSU policy or Oregon state law, meaning they did not receive an approved medical or religious exception, and did not take any action to become vaccinated. These individuals have been placed on leave and may face termination.
  • 32 members have received an approved medical or religious exception and may continue to work or learn at OHSU without becoming vaccinated.
  • A total of 42 medical and 467 religious exception requests were submitted by OHSU members; some of which are currently undergoing review by the OHSU Vaccine Exception Review Committee.

Additional information about OHSU’s vaccine policy implementation is available here

  • 13,357 COVID-19 booster shots and 12,447 seasonal flu shots have been administered to OHSU employees and students.

OHSU-specific data

  • Since Feb. 28, 2020, there have been 207,624 patients tested. Among those, a total of 16,667 COVID-19 cases have been detected; 21 patients are currently in hospital; and 2,307 patients have tests pending. There have been 139 in-hospital deaths.
  • There have been 43 new detected patient cases since Dec. 1.
  • To date, OHSU has completed 33,987 COVID-19 tests for 11,109 staff and students. Of those, 1,001 tests for 969 staff and students detected COVID-19; 32,817 tests for 10,631 individuals resulted in not detected; 76 tests are pending.

OHSU community vaccinations

  • OHSU has administered 398,613 vaccine doses through its community vaccination sites, in addition to the 546,166 vaccine doses administered to date through the Oregon Convention Center vaccination site, which is jointly managed by OHSU, Legacy Health, Kaiser Permanente and Providence Health & Services. (For more information about community locations and who is eligible, see “Community COVID-19 vaccination sites” below.)

As the state's academic health center, Oregon Health & Science University remains engaged with state and local public health authorities and health systems across the metro area to coordinate a regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to contain the spread of the virus, including through the use of vaccines that first arrived at OHSU on Dec. 15, 2020.

Beginning in the earliest days of the pandemic, OHSU activated an emergency operations center that adapted response plans already in place from previous pandemic influenza outbreaks, and this group continues to meet.

OHSU has prepared to treat a surge of patients with COVID-19, while working proactively to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and protect our workforce.

Community COVID-19 vaccination sites

OHSU has committed its entire organization to deploying COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are available, starting with difficult-to-reach community members and underserved communities. In fact, OHSU is collaborating to stand up vaccine clinics throughout the area to reach underserved people. See an updated list of community events.

OHSU has established an online resource to help OHSU patients make an appointment to get vaccinated. The university has also engaged students and trainees to vaccinate Oregonians.

OHSU Health also is offering vaccinations here:

  • OHSU Multnomah Pavilion, Marquam Hill Campus 
    • Indoor clinic will remain available by appointment for OHSU patients.
    • Note that vaccinations will also remain available at OHSU's Richmond clinic in southeast Portland and its Scappoose clinic.

The mass vaccination clinics at the Portland International Airport, Red Economy Parking Lot and Oregon Convention Center closed June 19 after delivering more than 800,000 vaccine doses from those two sites alone.

Mobile, drive-through testing

OHSU is committed to ensuring all Oregonians have access to COVID-19 testing and appropriate health care, particularly people of color and other individuals from communities hardest hit by COVID-19. Throughout the course of the pandemic, OHSU offered low-barrier drive-through testing that has tracked surges in case counts, at various points accommodating as many as 700 people a day through sites in Hillsboro, the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland Expo Center.

Learn more about other OHSU COVID-19 testing options and resources.

Patient care

  • OHSU manages an unprecedented surge of critically ill patients from the delta variant beginning in the summer of 2021. Frontline health care workers reiterate the importance of people getting vaccinated. "This is a preventable illness," says Erin Boni, R.N., B.S.N., "This doesn't have to happen to anyone anymore."
  • OHSU has established a Long COVID-19 Program to provide comprehensive, coordinated care for people experiencing debilitating symptoms months after their infection.
  • OHSU has established a series of steps to prepare patients who have recovered from COVID-19 for elective surgery following their illness. It's believed to be the first published protocol laying out a COVID-era path forward in American medicine.
  • OHSU has implemented a “mask on” policy for all patients, visitors and staff inside the hospital. For employees, this means anyone working in a patient-care area, in hallways, and in research labs. All employees who work in patient care areas will receive masks provided by OHSU. OHSU is asking all employees to conserve supplies as much as safely possible to preserve these precious resources for the entire institution and their colleagues.
  • OHSU’s research community came together to launch an in-house COVID-19 testing lab on March 24, 2020. The lab is an example of the many collaborations that have been happening at OHSU and in the health care community. In this case, members of the research community rallied to support the clinical community and testing in a drive to combat COVID-19. The lab's capacity greatly expanded in October 2020.
  • In June 2021, OHSU received federal and state funding to dramatically expand the state's ability to track variants of concern across Oregon and Southwest Washington.
  • OHSU’s Telemedicine Program offers an opportunity for patients to consult with licensed clinicians through a telephone or video connection from their home, limiting barriers to health care access. The service has expanded exponentially in response to COVID-19.

Workforce management

  • OHSU intends to implement a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for anyone with an OHSU identification badge, to the fullest extent allowed by law.
  • OHSU has offered childcare accommodations, including a $7.5 million hardship stipend, to help sustain its workforce during the pandemic.
  • A training video OHSU developed to prepare its students and staff to give COVID-19 vaccines is now being used to train California paramedics and emergency medical technicians as that state ramps up its fight against the pandemic.
  • OHSU suspended work-related travel beginning the week of March 9, 2020, with exceptions primarily related to clinicians providing patient care to sites around the Portland metro area and Oregon. The goal is to minimize quarantines of health care workers and help to slow the spread of the virus.
  • OHSU has instituted a wellness program designed to support clinicians, employees and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. One example is a grant-funded program that paid local restaurants to supply hot meals for high-impact frontline health care workers following the holidays.
  • OHSU is promoting physical distancing within the university, including by requiring non-critical function employees to work remotely and minimizing the number of people gathered for in-person meetings through video and teleconferencing alternatives. 

Research and development

  • OHSU data scientist Peter Graven, Ph.D., is providing weekly statewide projections focused on hospitalizations from COVID-19. Beginning early in the pandemic, Graven modeled the projected unchecked spread of the virus and began sharing those projections with state and local policymakers at the onset of the pandemic in Oregon in March of 2020. These projections helped inform Oregon’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” efforts to reduce the spread of the virus and ensure it doesn't exceed the capacity of health systems to treat a surge of patients who required hospitalization.
  • OHSU research published online on April 29 suggests that people previously infected with the novel coronavirus stand to get a much better benefit of protection against new variants if they're vaccinated. An earlier laboratory study highlighted the importance of stopping the spread of virus variants through vaccination. And another laboratory study shows telltale signals of immunity against new variants in the blood of people 11 months after infection. On July 21, 2021, OHSU scientists co-authored a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association clearly linking age to immune response measured in blood serum.
  • An OHSU study aims to better understand the immune system's response to COVID-19 during and after pregnancy.
  • OHSU scientists and physicians are engaged in a multipronged effort across the institution to improve scientific understanding of the novel coronavirus and bring the pandemic under control.
  • In November 2020, OHSU announced a partnership with the local nonprofit Self Enhancement Inc. on a pilot study that combines wastewater monitoring with voluntary saliva-based testing of residents in four Portland neighborhoods. Preliminary results are promising, and the project has helped forge connections with historically underserved communities.
  • An OHSU-led evidence review, published in June 2020, finds that facial coverings appear to decrease the risk of spreading respiratory illnesses in community settings.
  • OHSU data scientists are leading a nationwide collaboration of clinicians, informaticians and other biomedical researchers aims to turn data from hundreds of thousands of medical records from coronavirus patients into effective treatments and predictive analytical tools that could help lessen or end the global pandemic.
  • OHSU has joined with other universities and academic medical centers across the country to ease licensing requirements to expedite promising new technologies to diagnose, treat and prevent COVID-19. 

Community measures

Ways to help

Please consult these resources for the most current information on the COVID-19 response:

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