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Inslee restricts medical, dental procedures to save supplies

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee ordered restrictions Thursday on elective medical and dental procedures to save medical equipment for people fighting the COVID -19 outbreak. (Jim Camden / The Spokesman-Review)

OLYMPIA – Many medical and dental procedures in Washington were banned today by Gov. Jay Inslee in an effort to keep protective equipment available for health care workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inslee issued a proclamation that covers non-emergency services and elective procedures for the next two months, saying the supply chain for equipment has been disrupted worldwide. It applies to all hospitals, surgery centers and dental, orthodontic and endodontic offices in the state.

Banned procedures include:

    Most joint replacements

    Most cataract and lens surgeries

    Non-urgent cardiac procedures

    Cosmetic procedures

    Some endoscopy

    Some interventional radiology services

It does not apply to patients with heart attacks or strokes, or in motor vehicle accidents. Hospitals and surgery centers can perform procedures if the delay would result in a worse condition for the patient. Dental procedures to relieve pain or manage an infection are also not part of the ban.

“We’ve come together to make intense sacrifices over the past week or two,” Inslee said in a news release announcing the order. “Today’s crucial announcement is another way we can protect the health of our communities and families and slow the spread of this virus so our health care systems have a fighting chance to catch up and continue keeping us healthy.”