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WA Rural Hospitals Are As Covid-Stressed As Urban Facilities

Providence officials say Colville's Mount Carmel Hospital had 14 Covid-positive patients on Tuesday morning.
Providence officials say Colville's Mount Carmel Hospital had 14 Covid-positive patients on Tuesday morning.
Providence officials say Colville's Mount Carmel Hospital had 14 Covid-positive patients on Tuesday morning.
Credit Courtesy of Providence Health Care
Providence officials say Colville's Mount Carmel Hospital had 14 Covid-positive patients on Tuesday morning.

SPR's Doug Nadvornick reports.

Many eastern Washington hospitals are being strained by having to care for Covid patients. It's not quite as dire as the situation facing north Idaho hospitals, which are rationing resources.But Spokane’s hospitals have more than 200 Covid patients ... putting a strain on the city’s four major facilities.

 

In Colville, Peg Currie, the chief operating officer at Providence Health Care, says the company’s Mount Carmel Hospital is at least half full of Covid patients.

 

“Stevens County today has 14, when you think about only having 25 beds or less in critical access. Imagine what the emergency rooms are like, the waiting lists are like, to try to get into a higher level of acute care," she said.

 

Currie spoke Tuesday at a Washington State Hospital Association media briefing.

 

Other small Washington hospitals are also trying to keep pace with the demand for care.

 

In Ellensburg, Kittitas Valley Hospital CEO Julie Petersen says her hospital is already full. Now, she’s waiting to see what will come from the Labor Day weekend’s Ellensburg Rodeo, fair and parade.

 

“I don’t believe there was a lot of masking going on and, again, our vaccination rate is less than 50%. K-through-12 begins in person this week and Central Washington University is welcoming students back for in-person education again on campus this week," she said.

 

Petersen says the hospital will add staff to ensure the community testing clinic can meet a possible increase in demand.

 

Elsewhere, the Kittitas County jail has seven or eight inmates and staff who tested positive for Covid over the weekend.

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