Sky Lakes Medical Center leaders today announced that the Klamath Falls hospital’s isolation unit for COVID-19 patients reached capacity for the first time ever and that a second unit has been opened.

Seven patients were in the dedicated third-floor COVID unit early this morning, up from four the day before, and three more patients were admitted before lunchtime.

“This morning, Sky Lakes had more COVID-19 patients than ever since the pandemic began,” said Sky Lakes President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Stewart. “And with the large number of new positive test results recently reported, we can expect more COVID-19 patients in the very near future.

“Sky Lakes will be ready.”

A second isolation unit has been opened on the medical center’s second floor to deal with the increased COVID-19 patient volume. There are special accommodations to allow providers and staff to access the units without entering public space.

The rest of the hospital’s inpatient care area remains open to care for non-COVID patients.

Stewart issued a warning and a plea to the community. “Our ability to care for non-COVID patients relies entirely on having staff and providers available. If they are required to care for an influx of COVID-19 patients, then we have diminished capacity to take care of other patients.

“Please do all you can to decrease COVID exposure in our community.”

Public health experts advise people to wear a mask whenever they’re in public – indoors and outdoors – to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. They also encourage people to avoid gatherings and to observe physical distancing of at least 6 feet. Coronavirus resources

The record number of COVID patients follows a dramatic increase in the number of positive tests reported locally: 160 new cases last week and dozens more already this week.

“Evidence suggests this surge ties back to at Halloween parties where people were likely not wearing face masks and certainly not observing distancing guidelines,” Stewart said. “With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s especially important to heed the experts’ advice about masks and gatherings.”

Sky Lakes Medical Center is community owned, internationally accredited and nationally recognized for its culture of excellence.

Everyone in the Sky Lakes family, which also includes Sky Lakes Home Health, the award-winning Sky Lakes Cancer Treatment Center, and Cascades East Family Medicine Residency, is dedicated to helping make our community a healthier place to live.