Washington hospitals allowed to resume non-urgent surgeries after pause
Hospitals across Washington state can resume all procedures, surgeries, and operations starting Thursday, Feb. 17.
Non-urgent and elective medical procedures were put on hold more than a month ago to ease the strain on medical providers as cases of COVID-19 surged, primarily due to the omicron variant.
Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said the pause made a difference in his region.
“Our hospitals did get right on the edge of becoming overwhelmed, but the death rate was not as high as previous waves,” he said. “We avoided the really serious situation of health care services [being] totally overwhelmed — very close, but we got through it OK.”
The head of the Washington State Hospital Association, Cassie Sauer, says there is now a backlog of people waiting for surgery. She also clarified that any medical centers that were not overloaded were able to perform less urgent procedures during the pause. In all cases, doctors had discretion to decide which operations and treatments could not be delayed.
Last week, when Gov. Inslee made the announcement that surgeries could resume Feb. 17, he also said he would be telling the National Guard to “stand down” soon as cases and hospitalizations are declining.