COVID patients overwhelm Spokane hospitals, 95 percent are unvaccinated

SPOKANE, Wash. — COVID-19 is overwhelming our hospitals once again and that includes Spokane County.

The county is seeing the most people hospitalized from COVID since the start of the pandemic, with the Spokane Regional Health District reporting 165 hospitalizations Wednesday evening.

In Spokane County hospitals, about 95 percent of people being treated for COVID are unvaccinated, said Dr. Frank Velazquez, the interim health officer. That’s about the same trend being seen statewide along with hospitals being overwhelmed. Now, they asking for more help.

“Our hospitals are getting extremely busy,” said Velazquez.

Medical professionals are getting tired, grinding on for 18 months now. Not only are they facing another influx of COVID patients, there are staff shortages.

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Velazquez says hospitals are asking for some help. The health district has been looking into the Spokane County Medical Reserve Corps, which has 107 volunteers who have medical experience. The health district says it’s offering that option to hospitals to help with staff shortages.

Hospitals say they’re also in need of more space.

“There are patients that could be discharged, but there’s no place to send them and they require some minimal care,” he said. “We’re working on decompressing them and will open some additional bed capacity within the county.”

Velazquez says they don’t know how exactly they’ll do that yet, but it’s possible those patients could be transferred to some other care facilities like long-term care or non-acute care facilities. Reserve Corps volunteers could also help in those areas, too.

While hospitals are seeing more people in need of help, providers are seeing an increase in more testing, too.

Velazquez says they’re keeping an eye on testing and at this point, they don’t need to open a mass testing site.

For now, Spokane County hospitals aren’t in a place where they need to send patients to other hospitals. While they are busy, they are also not turning away care.

PAST COVERAGE: Spokane County reports highest number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized since pandemic started

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