Staying home truly does save lives

By Adam Brady, MD and

Robert Turngren, MD

Thank you for staying home to save lives.

The good news is, it’s working.

From mid-March to mid-April, Oregon’s aggressive physical distancing and stay-at-home measures have prevented an estimated 18,000 cases of COVID-19 and 500 hospitalizations.

But we’re not there yet. Every member of our community continues to have an important role to play in preventing the spread of the virus.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, if everyone continues to follow the guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19, the number of cases needing hospitalization will stay within current statewide hospital capacity. This would save many lives and enable doctors, nurses and other health professionals to provide the best possible care.

You are truly making a difference by practicing physical distancing and staying at home. Please keep it up and know all of our clinicians and staff are deeply grateful for your efforts.

On Tuesday, March 17, Samaritan began suspending elective surgeries, diagnostic procedures and some clinic visits in response to the emerging pandemic. The very next day, Gov. Kate Brown ordered all hospitals and clinics in the state to do the same. The primary reasons for this are to conserve vital personal protective equipment and ensure hospitals would be able to appropriately care for a potential surge of patients with COVID-19.

As a health care organization, we are continuing to do our part by reducing the number of people coming into our clinics and hospitals in person. In this way, we are reducing health risks for all of our patients and their families, as well as for our health care teams.

Meanwhile, Samaritan has enhanced its telemedicine capabilities to ensure patients get the care they need during this time. Our patients and clinicians have enthusiastically embraced the telehealth options, such as video visits. These tools will continue to offer convenient care options when the pandemic subsides. (More information about telehealth may be found at

We are continually evaluating the situation and are already planning for when the immediate crisis has passed – and we plan to ramp back up with elective visits, procedures and surgeries as quickly as possible. We will do so in accordance with state guidelines, and with a focus on maintaining the health and safety of patients, clinicians and staff.

When the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, health care delivery might not look the same as it was before. With enhanced partnerships — such as those with our county and state health officials — and expanded telehealth options, we are confident in our continued ability to build healthier communities together.

We extend our deepest gratitude for everything our communities are doing. Thank you for staying home to save lives.

– Dr. Adam Brady is an infectious disease specialist with Samaritan Health Services. Dr. Robert Turngren is chief medical officer for Samaritan Health.