Washington hospitals see worst COVID cases since beginning of pandemic

SPOKANE, Wash.– COVID-19 cases are the worst they’ve been since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Washington State Hospital Association.

There were 1,673 hospitalizations reported this week, which holds steady from 1,673 cases from last week. There are currently 260 patients on ventilators, which is nine more than last week.

Health leaders say it could be the beginning of a plateau, but hospitals are unsure what they’ll see in a couple of weeks after fairs, Labor Day, back to school, and other social events.

“I just want to make a point about the misery. When you walk down a hall that is full of COVID patients it becomes very real. These patients cannot catch their breath. They literally cannot get enough air. They are in effect drowning,” Washington State Hospital Association Executive Vice President Taya Briley said.

More than 90-percent of patients who are hospitalized are unvaccinated.

“I always sit there and wonder what if they were vaccinated, So, if you haven’t been vaccinated please, please, please go get a vaccine–it protects you-it protects those around you,” Virginia Mason infectious disease physician Dr. Cristopher Baliga said.

Idaho’s hospital crisis is having a ripple effect on Spokane hospitals and the rest of the state.

Briley says there are normal transfer patterns between Idaho and Spokane hospitals. However, Washington hospitals have limited capacity to take in patients from Idaho.

“There are patients moving around in this geographical area just based on the ebb and flow of patient need from moment to moment but however, overall our level loading process is Washington state focused and remain WA state focused with hospitals able to work with partner hospitals across the border,” Briley said.

Hospitals have cut back on surgeries that lead to admission afterward.
Not all health care workers have been vaccinated. That’s especially true for more rural areas.

Monday is the last day for workers to get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. For Johnson and Johnson, the deadline is October 4.

Hospitals say supply is short for the J&J vaccine.

Hospitals say they’re actively reviewing medical and religious exemptions.

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