Hospitals sound alarm with 130% patient capacity as WA stares down BA.5 wave

Jul 18, 2022, 1:26 PM


UW Medical Center - Roosevelt on June 21, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Going into another COVID-19 wave, Washington state hospitals are already in a bad spot. Many hospitals are at 130% capacity or more.

Hospital leaders at a Washington State Hospital Association’s (WSHA) news conference Monday said hospitals are already full throughout Washington.

This is due to staffing shortages, the typical increase in summer injuries such as sports accidents, and the people who had care delayed during the pandemic.

Additionally, there is the problem of people who are ready to be discharged to long-term care facilities but cannot get a place because nursing homes have low staffing, or because state law only lets a family member discharge their loved one with power of attorney. Up to 20% of patients in Washington hospitals are in this category.

WSHA is asking the state to cut the red tape in the guardianship process, so family members can easily discharge relatives to nursing homes. They are also asking for rapid response teams for long-term care facilities.

Average daily COVID-19 infections are now higher than the peak of the 2021 delta COVID wave in King County, with BA.5 now the predominate strain of coronavirus.

Several western Washington counties experiencing high levels of COVID-19 infection

Hospitals are also watching monkeypox. While they don’t see it becoming as big of a problem as COVID, any small increase in hospitalizations is a problem with hospitals already so full.

KIRO Newsradio’s Nicole Jennings contributed to this report. 

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Hospitals sound alarm with 130% patient capacity as WA stares down BA.5 wave