The Delta Variant

“Beyond red” situation in MultiCare hospitals

Tumwater City Council receives capacity warnings yesterday

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MultiCare released a statement declaring its facilities are nearing maximum capacity as a result of the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases. The regional nonprofit healthcare system acquired what is now MultiCare Capital Medical Center in Olympia earlier this year.

During the Tumwater City Council report yesterday, Council Member Angela Jefferson, a member of the City’s Public Health and Safety Committee shared a message she received on Mon., Sept. 6, from MultiCare. She read, “Currently, MultiCare hospitals are experiencing a late summer surge of patients with COVID-19 fueled by the Delta variant. These factors are putting an incredible strain on our entire healthcare system and making it particularly challenging for hospital-based staff to provide care.”

The health facility also shared that the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase. Jefferson continued, “The number of patients with COVID-19 admitted to hospitals in the Puget Sound region has now climbed to 217, an all-time high.”

The council member added that the situation has already taken its toll on medical workers, “Staffing shortages throughout the pandemic make people retire from careers in healthcare ... Our healthcare workers are burnt out, leading to a record number of job vacancies. 20 percent registered nurses, 20 percent licensed professional nurses, 18 percent certified nurse’s assistants and over 20 percent shortage rates of staff who clean and sanitize our hospitals” are vacant positions for which MultiCare is recruiting, Jefferson read and explained.

“In the past, Multi-Care has been at red status regarding capacity and staffing issues. But now, they considered their hospital to be beyond red,” Jefferson said, adding that the status means that the hospitals are nearing maximum capacity, and may no longer have the ability to accept more patients.

Jefferson urged residents to get vaccinated and to wear masks. “Please choose to get vaccinated as soon as possible, it is the best protection we have and you have from being hospitalized,” she said.

In her report, Jefferson also noted that Thurston County Medic One will activate its High Probability Unit (HPU) plan to deal with what she called the “dramatic” demand for medical services. The council member explained that the plan includes hiring additional staff outside of the county and purchasing more ambulances.

The situation continues to grow worse. As of 2:30 today, in the past seven days, on its COVID Dashboard, Thurston County reported a total of 679 cases, eight hospitalizations, and seven deaths. On Tuesday alone, the county confirmed 92 new cases.

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