Subject: Emergency, Temporary Restriction of OSH Admissions related to Corona virus

To: Partners of Oregon State Hospital (OSH)
From: Dolly Matteucci, OSH Superintendent/Chief Executive Officer
Date: March 14, 2020
Subject: Emergency, Temporary Restriction of Oregon State Hospital (OSH)

Admissions related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The President has declared a national emergency, and the Governor of the State of Oregon has declared an emergency throughout the state, both in response to the spread of COVID-19. Oregon has recently seen COVID-19 cases in people without high-risk exposures (i.e., travel to affected regions or contact with known cases). This means COVID-19 is spreading within communities in Oregon.

To protect the health and safety of patients and staff, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) imposed new visitation restrictions for Psychiatric Inpatient Care Programs on March 14. Also on March 14, OHA ordered OSH to temporarily restrict admissions. Both of these actions are consistent with the declaration of emergency in Executive Order 20-03 issued by the Governor on March 8, 2020, as well as the key goals for the U.S. healthcare system in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:

As a result, and to protect its most vulnerable patients, effective Monday, March 16, 2020, OSH will implement an emergency, temporary restriction on admissions to both Salem and Junction City campuses.
Under the emergency temporary restrictions, admissions will be limited to patients under Guilty Except for Insanity (GEI) revocations and those who OSH determines meet the criteria for expedited Aid and Assist admissions under ORS 161.365 and 161.370. OSH’s expedited admission protocol has been shared with jails and public defenders throughout the state, and it has been in use since 2018.

As of March 14, there are currently no patients who are being monitored or patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. However, the OSH Chief Medical Officer has identified 251 patients at risk for serious illness related to COVID-19 infection. There are shortages of personal protective equipment and medical equipment needed to protect individuals from COVID-19 and to respond to the disease itself. Healthcare staff, beds, quarantine or isolation areas and medicines and other treatments to treat persons currently admitted to the hospital are also limited, and they will become more scarce as COVID-19 spreads and if COVID-19 cases present in the hospital.

As recommended by the state Epidemiologist and State Health Officer, and in consultation with the State Behavioral Health Director, OSH is working to designate protective units for all patients at high risk for COVID-19 and specialized units to treat monitored and positive COVID-19 cases as those occur. The emergency, temporary restriction on admissions has been implemented to allow OSH to complete this work. These changes will severely limit the ability for OSH to admit new patients, due to reduced capacity.

OSH continues to work closely with the state’s Behavioral Health Director, the Epidemiologist and State Health Officer, and the OHA Public Health division to ensure the health and safety of its patients. OSH will continually assess its capacity to accept admissions on a weekly basis and communicate with stakeholders weekly.

Formatted version of this memo – OSH MEMO to stakeholders re admission restrictions COVID 19