Some Washington hospitals reportedly overcapacity

Providence-Swedish said up to 20% of their patients no longer require hospitalization. Harborview reports a 130% capacity overload.

SEATTLE — Several Washington state hospital administrators say their facilities are overwhelmed and understaffed.

“We have not been below this level of stress at any point during the pandemic, this is unprecedented at this time,” said Sommer Kleweno Walley of Harborview Medical Center.

Though COVID-19 is a concern today, the Washington State Hospital Association said it’s not the only factor at play. The biggest factor is that many patients are taking up beds they no longer need while awaiting transfer to long-term care facilities.

Providence-Swedish said up to 20% of their patients no longer require hospitalization. Harborview reports 130% overcapacity.

“Unfortunately, we have returned to the same levels, and in some cases even worse levels of both challenge and distress in our hospitals that we experienced during these times of these specific increases associated with these variants,” said Dr. Steve Mitchell from the Washington Medical Coordination Center.

The problem comes at a time when the state is dealing with the most contagious version of the virus yet. The BA.5 and BA.4 variants, which together account for the majority of new cases, are thought to evade both antibody and vaccine protection.

“We are actively evaluating whether and when additional mandates may be required,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Public Health Officer – Seattle & King County.

Last week, King County officials said they are considering mask mandates — an issue the governor downplayed earlier this month.

“We’re not there, and we’re not really getting close to that position. So we believe this is the moment when people can make choices as individually as possible and get a booster shot,” Gov. Jay Inslee said on July 8.

CLOCK: ‘Highly communicable’ variant of COVID-19 causes more reinfections across Washington Some Washington hospitals reportedly overcapacity

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