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Local emergency rooms have longer wait times than normal thanks to delta surge

Aug. 16, 2021 Updated Wed., Aug. 18, 2021 at 8:53 a.m.

 (Molly Quinn / The Spokesman-Review)
(Molly Quinn / The Spokesman-Review)

Local hospitals are experiencing longer than usual wait times for emergency room visits that are not deemed life-threatening.

These wait times are a result of myriad factors including already tight hospital capacity, staffing challenges and the most recent COVID-19 surge, which has led to a sizable increase in hospitalized patients, who have contracted the virus.

At 4 p.m. on Monday, there was a three-hour minimum wait time to get into adult emergency rooms at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital.

MultiCare hospitals have also been experiencing longer than normal wait times in emergency departments.

Local providers are encouraging patients with lower-level injuries, like sprains, possible broken bones or moderate illness to visit local urgent care centers instead of the emergency room.

Patients experiencing chest pains, signs of stroke or severe illness and injury should visit emergency departments.

Over the weekend, Washington hospitals reached hospitalization levels not seen since the large winter surge in December 2020 and January 2021.

Spokane hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have more than tripled since the end of July. Hospitals in the Inland Northwest have had to rapidly expand to create space for new COVID admissions.

Among Spokane hospitals and Kootenai Health, there are 230 patients hospitalized for the virus.

A look at local numbers:

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 94 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and 569 new cases over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

The district reported four additional deaths due to the virus.

There have been 703 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County residents.

There are 148 patients hospitalized with the virus in Spokane.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 134 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and over the weekend as well as three additional deaths.

There have been 344 deaths due to COVID-19 in Panhandle residents.

There are 82 Panhandle residents hospitalized.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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