COVID-19 cases are surging across Washington State. At the same time, hospitalization rates are rising and case numbers continue to break records locally and nationally. In response, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced on Jan. 13 a series of significant steps to help ease the current burden on the state’s struggling health care system.
Describing Washington’s rising infection rate as “extremely concerning,” Gov. Inslee announced at a virtual press conference a host of critical measures aimed at supporting hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities through this phase of the pandemic.
The new measures include:
- Temporary pause on non-essential procedures. A temporary, four-week pause on non-essential procedures goes into effect at midnight on Jan. 17, 2022, and is scheduled to be in place through midnight on Feb. 17, 2022, unless rescinded sooner.
- Washington State National Guard deployment. The guard will deploy for non-clinical emergency department and testing site support at hospitals across the state.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency testing sites. Two new testing sites will be in King and Snohomish counties.
- Conventional personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines. Hospitals are directed to operate under conventional PPE guidelines to ensure healthcare workers continue to be protected.
- Support for patients requiring placement in long-term and nursing home care. Gov. Inslee’s announcement includes several measures to support nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and help hospitals place patients in post-acute care settings more quickly.
- Availability of federally supported contract staff, and a call for retired workers. Gov. Inslee highlighted the availability of federal resources to support care for patients with COVID-19. The governor also called on retired healthcare workers to assist at hospitals and long-term care facilities with testing and vaccinations.
You can read the full text of Gov. Inslee’s proclamation here. Swedish is committed to working with our federal, state and local leaders and continuing to advocate for the needs of our patients and caregivers. We’ll continue to provide you with updates as they become available.