Spokane County hospitals managing surge in patients, calling on younger population to contain COVID-19

SPOKANE, Wash.– Spokane County is at the peak of this COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s because more people are hospitalized with the virus than any other point over the last few months.

And the 146 new cases reported Friday are concerning local hospitals.

“Those numbers eventually translate into exposure in our community of elderly folks or folks who otherwise have no ways or risk factors for exposure,” Adam Richards of Providence Health said.

Right now, more than 50 percent of hospital beds in the county are being used, and five percent of those are COVID-19 patients.

Five percent may not be a lot, but if that number keeps rising, it can quickly impact hospital capacity.

“The increase in illness is concerning for this time, because these are numbers we’d normally see in the winter or early spring,” Richards said.

The problem here comes from people under 40, who are catching the virus at an alarming rate. They account for about 50 percent of COVID-19 cases in Spokane County.

They may not get very sick, but health officials at Sacred Heart Hospital said they’re spreading COVID-19 to the older population.

“A younger individual may not get as sick whereas an elderly person could be extreme illness, hospital admission,” Richards said. “Certainly we know there have been a number of deaths in our community.”

ICU beds are starting to fill up as more than 55 percent of those beds are being used right now in the county.

There are also 148 ventilators available in the county, and 44 of those are being used right now.

These numbers show Spokane County is managing COVID-19.

But, hospitals are worried that can change quickly as numbers continue to rise.

“So, that’s why we need the community’s help to continue to be prepared, and reduce how many people are coming in by wearing a mask and making sure we’re not spreading covid,” Richards said.

There is also still a major backlog in testing. Some people are waiting at least 10 days for their results to comeback.

READ: Health District warns of ‘significant’ COVID-19 community spread in Spokane