Local hospitals address staffing, capacity concerns ahead of Thanksgiving

Sacred Heart Hospital Staff And Patient Cropped

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Health District hosted a press conference with local healthcare leaders, addressing Spokane’s hospital capacity ahead of Thanksgiving.

Local and regional leaders have urged people not to gather for Thanksgiving due to the risk of spreading COVID-19; despite this, millions are still flying home across the country to be with their families this year.

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Healthcare providers are holding fast capacity-wise — MultiCare Senior VP David O’Brien says COVID patients still make up less than 20-percent capacity across their Inland Northwest hospitals.

While this means they are prepared to take on more patients, the main issue facing providers is not capacity, but staffing.

“We are seeing our highest volumes of COVID patients at both Providence Sacred Heart and Holy Family hospitals, as well as doctors offices and clinics,” said Sacred Heart COO Susan Stacey.

O’Brien urged the community to step up and do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19; wearing masks, socially distancing and calling off large gatherings like Thanksgiving on Thursday. O’Brien said he is canceling his own Thanksgiving trip, and will instead be celebrating with his family virtually.

Despite the rise in cases, interim county health officer Dr. Francisco Velazquez said that people should still go to the hospital if they need care, saying each facility has strict protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.