Providence is pausing all nonemergency surgeries and procedures at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital.
Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 patients, as well as staffing challenges, the health care system announced the indefinite pause on procedures, including those scheduled at the Doctor’s Building on the Sacred Heart campus.
If you have a procedure or surgery scheduled in the next two weeks, Providence asks you to call your provider or the office that scheduled the procedure for more information.
Providers will work to reschedule procedures and surgeries on a case-by-case basis, but Providence does not know how long the pause will last.
Local hospitals are having staff help treat a surge of COVID-19 patients, and with limited staff to go around, elective procedures are the first to be put on hold.
Spokane County case numbers and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are at higher rates than they were during the winter 2020 surge, with 236 COVID patients currently being treated.
Hospital officials are asking community members to get vaccinated in order to slow the surge in COVID cases.
Hospitals are stretched to their thinnest point since the pandemic began, and statewide there were 1,683 COVID patients hospitalized as of Monday.
On Aug. 26, Providence announced it was delaying some surgeries and procedures, and Tuesday’s announcement indicates COVID trends have not gotten better since.
In the past four weeks, Providence hospitals have averaged 107 COVID patients every day between them, with 21 of those patients in the ICU.
While the Spokane hospitals are not operating in crisis standards of care, rationing some services, business is far from usual at the facilities.
The number of COVID patients, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated, needing treatment in hospitals is impacting other care in the region.
“We are really concerned about the number of COVID patients in our hospitals causing those without COVID to not get care,” Taya Briley, executive vice president at the Washington State Hospital Association, told reporters Monday.
The latest COVID surge in Spokane County has been dramatic for hospitals. Since a month ago, Spokane is seeing roughly 100 more daily hospitalizations. On Aug. 13, there were 133 patients hospitalized. On Tuesday, it was 236.
Similarly, deaths due to COVID-19 have increased. Last week alone, the Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 25 deaths.
Weekly hospitalizations have remained steady in the county this week compared with last week, though.
Hospital officials are concerned large events like county fairs or concerts, as well as kids returning to classrooms, might cause the surge to persist. They are asking everyone to not only mask up indoors and outdoors, but to get vaccinated.
“We’re at a very serious point with the number of patients we have in our hospitals that are COVID positive,” Peg Currie, chief executive at Providence Spokane, told reporters Friday.
Local hospital and health care leaders held a joint press briefing at the end of last week begging the community to take the surge seriously.
In Spokane County, 60.9% of the population 12 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, and 51.9% of the total population in the county has received at least one dose.
The vast majority of patients in Washington state who are hospitalized with the virus have not been vaccinated, according to state health officials.
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