Hospital leaders react to growing COVID-19 hospitalizations

Hospitals in Washington are full, and the occupancy includes 1,674 COVID-19 patients, according to hospital leaders. On Monday, 251 of those patients were on ventilators, a 34% increase from last week, according to Cassie Sauer, president of the Washington State Hospital Association.

“To be clear, a lot of these people are not going to make it,” said Sauer. “Hospitals are providing incredible care to them. It is hugely labor-intensive. But folks, once they get on a ventilator, many of them will not survive. It turns into a cascade of organ failure and other serious issues.”

Hospitals in Washington have never had this many COVID-19 patients at once.

The situation is so bad in Idaho today that officials enacted “crisis standards of care” for the state’s northern hospitals because there are more patients than institutions can handle. They are focusing on the patients they think are most likely to survive.

Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending 20 military doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, to help care for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

At Harborview Medical Center, Dr. Steve Mitchell is monitoring it all closely. He’s in charge of the Washington Medical Coordination Center, moving patients around the state. He said all hospitals are full.

“To stretch together and meet all the needs, so any one hospital or region by itself is not overwhelmed, which is what is occurring in northern Idaho right now,” he said.

But with all hospitals in the state already full, finding a room is harder than ever. That said, if you are sick, he urges you to seek care.

“We’re at a heartbreaking point in the pandemic for Washington hospitals where what is happening in our hospitals is very preventable,” said Mitchell. He encourages everyone to get vaccinated and wear a mask to keep from needing hospitalization.