Procedures may resume May 1 with safeguards in place
PORTLAND — Governor Kate Brown today announced that she will be lifting her order delaying non-urgent procedures for health care providers, as long as they can demonstrate they have met new requirements for COVID-19 safety and preparedness. Hospitals, surgical centers, medical offices, and dental offices that meet those requirements will be able to resume non-urgent procedures on May 1.
Medical providers will need to demonstrate they have the ability to:
- Minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission to patients and healthcare workers
- Maintain adequate hospital capacity in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases
- Support the health care workforce in safely resuming activities
Under the framework, medical providers must also demonstrate that they have an adequate amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) available for health care workers, following CDC guidance for the extended use or reuse of PPE. Hospitals must continue to report PPE supply levels daily to the Oregon Health Authority. Hospitals must also demonstrate adequate COVID-19 testing capacity when needed, including the ability to screen patients before non-urgent procedures, and follow strict infection control protocols.
Facilities that are ready to begin resuming non-urgent procedures will be required to do so gradually, in order to preserve capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. Criteria will be reassessed biweekly.
“As anyone waiting for an elective surgery knows, ‘non-urgent’ does not mean ‘minor,’” said Governor Brown. “This is incredibly important medical care that we would not have told providers to delay if the threat of COVID-19 had not made it necessary.
“I would like to thank Oregonians for the sacrifices they have made during this crisis to ensure that our health care workers have the personal protective equipment they need to treat COVID-19 patients. Lifting this order will allow our health care system to get up and running again, with appropriate safeguards in place, so that Oregonians can get health care treatment without delay.”
A copy of the Governor’s full remarks is available here.
The Oregon Health Authority’s framework for resuming non-urgent procedures is available here for hospitals and surgical centers and medical and dental offices.