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Snohomish County hospitals struggling as COVID-19 surge continues

Hospitals in Snohomish County are seeing a surge of ill people needing treatment for COVID-19 as the delta variant drives up new cases to the second-highest level so far since the pandemic began in early 2020.
Two-week rolling Covid-19 case count. Image courtesy of Snohomish County.

From a September 1, 2020, Snohomish County press release.

Hospitals in Snohomish County are seeing a surge of ill people needing treatment for COVID-19 as the Delta variant drives up new cases to the second-highest level so far since the pandemic began in early 2020, a virtual press conference was told on Tuesday, August 31st.

The rate of new COVID cases during the last two weeks now stands at 446 per 100,000 people, said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District.

He said about 15,000 tests for COVID were performed in the community last week, with roughly 15% coming back positive – a level not seen since April 2020, when the virus was just beginning to infect people here.

COVID hospitalizations are running close to 100 people a day. That hasn’t happened since before vaccines became widely available in the spring, Dr. Spitters added.

“Without the benefits of vaccination afforded to the community by the roughly half million Snohomish County residents who have lent their arm to the effort, our currently stressed health care system would be completely overwhelmed,” he commented.

Dr. Jay Cook, Chief Medical Officer at Providence Regional Medical Center, said the Everett hospital admitted more than 300 people diagnosed with COVID during August, averaging about 10 new patients each day.

Three quarters of those people were not vaccinated, he reported.

According to Dr. Cook, the same was true of 96% of those COVID patients who were so ill they required admission to intensive care.

The hospital is close to capacity, as are many others around the state, he added.

Both doctors urged people to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so already, to continue wearing masks indoors where the virus is known to spread most easily, and to avoid crowds.

Without intervention, the virus will continue to spread and cases to climb, perhaps to new highs, the press conference was told.

“I want to again plead to the 200,000 eligible and yet still unvaccinated individuals in the community to go get your vaccination series started as soon as possible, if not today,” Dr. Spitters said.

He went on to say, “The vast majority of the bad news you are hearing about COVID and the Delta strain is affecting unvaccinated people. At this point, many community pharmacies are accepting same-day or even walk-in appointments. If not today, then set a date soon by when you will do it.”

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