Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: Hundreds of hospital patients waiting to be discharged, new COVID-19 subvariant 'BA.2' detected

Emily Scarvie

(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, Jan. 25 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Hundreds of Oregon patients waiting to be discharged, released to lower-level care

Amid staffing shortages and an increase in COVID-19 patients in Oregon hospitals, hundreds of patients are stuck waiting to be discharged or released to lower levels of care. The Oregon Health Authority reported Monday that 577 patients were waiting to be discharged to lower levels of care and another 229 patients were waiting for a hospital bed.

“We are in a situation where people are coming to the hospital and sometimes staying longer,” Dave Northfield, with the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, told KGW. “The pipeline isn’t working as it’s supposed to.”

The backlog is tied to several factors, including staffing shortages in hospitals and an increase in patients with COVID-19. Oregon reported more than 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday, nearing September’s delta peak of over 1,200 hospitalizations. Many non-COVID patients have also been attempting to get treatments and surgeries that have been delayed during the pandemic.

2. Multnomah County health officials to hold COVID-19 press conference

Multnomah County health officials are holding a virtual press conference at 11 a.m. on Tuesday to discuss the county’s ongoing pandemic response and omicron surge. The press conference, which will be held on Zoom, will include information about trends health officials are seeing and what may be coming in the near future.

The Oregon Health Authority’s most recent report showed another 19,400 cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. OHA predicts Oregon’s COVID-19 cases will peak by Jan. 28 and hospitalizations will peak in early February.

3. New COVID-19 subvariant detected in Washington

Washington has confirmed two cases of BA.2, a new hard-to-detect subvariant of COVID-19. It’s been nicknamed the “stealth variant” because health officials say it’s difficult to identify.

“A subvariant, basically, just means it’s a virus that has a different sequence. One of the things that we do know, is it looks as if it’s related to the omicron variant,” Dr. Ken Stedman, professor of biology at Portland State University, told KATU.

Experts say the best thing we can do is continue to take steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19. More variants develop as a virus continues to spread. Both the Oregon Health Authority and Clark County Health said they’re still gathering information on BA.2.

4. Dumpling Week 2022 starts on Sunday with over 30 Portland restaurants

Dumpling Week is returning for its eighth year on Sunday and more than 30 Portland restaurants have pitched in to create special dumplings for the annual celebration. At Afuri's three locations, the dumpling special includes a caramelized onion broth, mushroom medley, sweet potato, ginger and scallion. Kachka is offering Shivit Oshi Pelmeni, a “dill-infused dumpling dough wrapped around a lamb and onion filling and garnished with beet suzma and silk road chile crunch.”

Dumpling Week runs from Jan. 30 through Feb. 5. During the week, dumpling specials can be ordered for dine in, take-out or delivery through a variety of services. Customers can join the festivities online and check out all participating restaurants by visiting DumplingWeek.com.

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