In Short

After short hospitalization, the head of the Oregon Health Authority is back home

By: - January 26, 2022 3:15 pm
Oregon Health Authority building

The Oregon Health Authority is investing more than $500 million in behavioral health and addiction treatment. (Oregon Health Authority)

Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, is now back home in Sherwood recovering after being hospitalized on Sunday following a “serious” fall, sources told the Capital Chronicle.

He was discharged on Tuesday, they said. By mid-day Wednesday, the health authority had still not alerted the public. 

Patrick Allen
Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

His hospitalization was surrounded in mystery. The health agency, trying to navigate the family’s wishes for privacy and the need to alert the public, said in a release on Tuesday that he had fallen on Sunday morning and was having a heart evaluation. It did not name the hospital nor respond to questions about why it had waited two days to alert the public.

It’s not clear when he will be back at work. His deputy, Kris Kautz, is filling in for him.

One of the state’s chief agency directors, Allen has mostly worked from home during the pandemic. He’s has been working around the clock during the current surge of omicron cases and hospitalizations. In briefings to legislative committees two weeks ago, Allen looked visibly exhausted as he recounted the toll of Covid-19 and Oregon’s response. He acknowledged that the state would fail to reach its goal of getting 1 million more booster shots into Oregonians by the end of the month.

The agency’s daily release on Covid on Wednesday said, again, that Oregon had not reached the midway mark, falling short by nearly 540,000 people. State data show that 40% of adults in Oregon have received a booster dose, and that 82% of adults have received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Covid-19 deaths in Oregon are close to 6,000. Hospitalizations are continuing to increase ad the omicron variant spreads. Apprise Health Insights, a subsidiary of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, showed that about 1,150 people with Covid-19 or suspected Covid-19 are now hospitalized in Oregon, and that nearly 850 are stuck in a hospital bed awaiting discharge to a care facility or “boarding” in an emergency room while awaiting admission or discharge to a residential treatment program, for example.

Just over 1,200 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 during the peak of the delta surge in early September when some hospitals ran out of beds for a day at a time.

The availability of beds has remained fairly stable in recent days, with regular adult beds running low across the Portland area to the coast, in northcentral Oregon and in Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties. Gilliam, Hood River, Sherwood and Wasco counties have no more intensive care beds.

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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years.