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Inslee asks feds for medical personnel during COVID crisis

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee wrote a letter to Jeff Zients, the federal COVID-19 response coordinator, asking for help caring for COVID patients in Washington state.

In the letter, he reinforces a request from the Washington State Department of Health earlier this month and then asks for Department of Defense medical personnel to help with the COVID crisis.

Washington state COVID hospitalizations appear to be leveling off, on Monday about 1,504 patients were being cared for in the state. The peak was Sept. 9 when there were closer to 1,700.

While hospitalizations appear to be leveling off, health leaders say it doesn’t mean the patients went home.

“One of the reasons hospitalizations rates are falling is that death rates are rising,” said Cassie Sauer, CEO, Washington State Hospital Association.

Hospitals in Spokane are seeing their highest number of COVID hospitalizations yet. An influx of COVID patients from Idaho is adding to the already overwhelmed system.

“We are still at our all-time high since the start of this pandemic. Although we’re not practicing crisis standards of care medicine on this side of the state, we still feel like we’re in crisis,” said Dr. Dan Getz, the chief medical officer at Providence Health Care in Spokane.

The Washington State Department of Health says it already identified ten health care facilities in the state where additional staffing would have the greatest impact on improving access to care.

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