‘Closer to crisis than ever’: Washington hospitals see rapid influx of COVID patients after the holidays

Harborview Medical Center - Washington

SEATTLE, Wash. — Shortly after Washington residents came together and celebrated the holiday season, COVID-19 case rates are through the roof—forcing the hand of government leaders and hospital officials across the Evergreen State.

During a Thursday morning briefing from the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA), health leaders confirmed that the number of coronavirus patients in the state’s hospitals spiked 88% in the last month.

While this surge remains below the Delta variant peak, it’s a concerning trend that’s leaving hospital staff members sick.

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“Right now, we are closer to [a] crisis situation than we ever have been,”  Dr. John Lynch, Medical Director of Infection Control at UW Harborview Medical Center said. “UW medicine facilities this is the largest number of COVID-19 inpatients we’ve had in the entire two years.”

Harborview is currently seeing three times more COVID hospitalizations than it did prior to Christmas. That’s why hospital officials ask that anyone who is sick, but not suffering an extreme case of coronavirus, should quarantine at home.

If you do show up at one of Washington state’s hospitals, don’t expect to automatically get access to monoclonal or antiviral treatment.

RELATED: Kittitas County Public Health sees record number of COVID-19 cases

“Some providers are sending patients to the emergency room with the expectation that they might be getting treatment with monoclonals or antivirals there, and that’s an unrealistic expectation,” Dr. Francis Riedo, Medical Director for Infection Control and Prevention at EvergreenHealth said. “The prioritization of these treatments takes into account the ENTIRE population; not just those that can make it to the emergency room.”

WSHA officials suggest that concerned community members enter another voluntary lockdown to prevent contracting and spreading COVID-19.

They also mentioned that unvaccinated patients take up hospital beds for at-risk community members like cancer patients who desperately need that emergency medical attention.

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