Metro area health officials released an open letter this week urging people to do what they can to slow the spread of the omicron variant as they gather this holiday season.
That includes getting vaccinated — including a booster shot, if possible — as well as wearing masks and avoiding large indoor gatherings.
The variant is predicted to cause a spike in hospitalizations, according to the letter.
It was signed by leaders from Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, OHSU, PeaceHealth and Providence.
“We know our dedicated teams will once again do all they can to care for patients,” the letter read. “But, after nearly two years of fighting this pandemic our nurses and doctors are exhausted. Clinical staff and hospital beds are in short supply in all of our hospitals. A significant increase in COVID-19 infection and hospitalizations in Oregon and Southwest Washington will create delays in emergency department care for some patients and additional delays for surgeries, due to the lack of an available staffed bed.”
“Each illness we prevent or reduce frees up health care resources for a loved one, friend or neighbor in need,” it concluded.