Gov. Inslee to Pres. Trump: WA hospitals will be in crisis by end of month

The Governor is asking the president to send a Navy hospital ship here --- saying just the sight of it in the harbor could bring hope.

Governor Inslee has asked President Trump to send one of the Navy’s massive floating hospital ships to Seattle to deal with the coronavirus pandemic as he anticipates “our hospitals will be in crisis by the end of this month.”

“It is becoming clear that our hospitals will be overwhelmed soon,” said Governor Inslee in a letter sent to President Trump Tuesday. “As the number of available medical professionals decreases, we do not have the ability to handle the surge in new COVID-19 patients on our own.”

Military officials are now staffing and preparing to deploy the 1,000-bed USNS Mercy, currently in San Diego, to help with the coronavirus pandemic.

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California’s governor has also asked President Trump to send the Navy ship to Los Angeles. The Trump administration has not yet announced whether the ship will go to LA or Seattle.

The Navy said the team of trauma specialists on board would treat people who do not have COVID-19. This would allow local hospitals, that officials say currently do not have the capacity to deal with a surge in new cases, to focus on treating coronavirus patients.

“People will still have car accidents and there will still be shootings and other forms of trauma,” said Navy Surgeon General Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham. “Those patients will be treated aboard the ships, leaving the local hospitals to concentrate their scarce resources on COVID-19 patients.”

Gov. Inslee said the Navy physicians and nurses are needed more than ever as there are fewer Washington healthcare practitioners every day because of fatigue and sickness.

The Navy said the Mercy’s sister ship, the USNS Comfort, is set to be deployed to New York to help with the pandemic there.

"We think [Washington state] that is the right deployment decision because we are the epicenter,” said Governor Inslee.