Washington health leaders: COVID hospitalizations are down, but deaths are on the rise

SPOKANE, Wash.–The Washington State Hospital Association says statewide hospitalizations are down, but deaths are on the rise.

WSHA believes Washingtonians are taking the pandemic seriously, and more people are getting vaccinated. However, thirty people died from COVID from Sunday to Monday.

The governor’s order on masking has also contributed to fewer COVID patients in the hospital.

Some counties such as Seattle’s King County will be implementing vaccination requirements for bars and restaurants.

“When you’ve got fewer people in the hospital it’s that some have died, and you all have probably heard that there are a number of counties that are either ordering additional morgue capacity or refrigerated trucks or working with their morgues on how to increase capacity,” Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer said in a media briefing.

Hospitalizations at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center haven’t decreased. The hospital is still seeing a record number of hospital admissions.

The hospital has had to postpone or cancel elective surgeries like cancer and spine surgeries to create more capacity.

“We want people to realize that if you’re really really sick, we can care for you right now we want you to come to the emergency department with your heart attacks and your strokes, and that was something that really worried us initially when we saw people too scared to come to hospitals,” Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center chief officer Dr. Daniel Getz said.

Dr. Getz says that the mortality rate is roughly 30 to 50-percent when a patient is put on a ventilator. He describes the ventilator as kind of like the hail Mary of COVID care.

“It’s an agonizingly long process and makes it challenging to move people through an ICU. We at Sacred Heart, a 54 bed ICU, and it’s not been uncommon to see 20 plus patients with COVID many of whom are intubated and prone,” Getz said.

Dr. Getz says that the community needs to step up and get vaccinated.

He also notes that the eastern side of the state is in worse shape compared to the west side due to low vaccination rates.

“It really is just incredibly difficult to do the amount of care that a sick COVID patient requires is incredibly large, and again it highlights that this is largely preventable,” Getz said.

In Spokane, there were 831 new cases from Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and 221 people are currently in the hospital.

Twenty-three people died from COVID last week alone.

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