The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) called on Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shah to declare a statewide crisis over the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Mika Sinanan, the president of WSMA and Ryan Keay, the president of Washington’s American College of Emergency Medicine, co-authored the letter sent to Inslee and Shah on Jan. 6, 2022.
The letter explains the dire situation hospitals across the state are facing because of the sheer number of COVID-19 patients.
For two years, hospitals across the state have been limiting or stopping elective procedures to accommodate the influx of COVID-19 patients, but this hasn’t been enough, the letter states.
“We simply can’t carry on this way any longer,” Sinanan and Keay said.
The letter requests the state take a number of actions to deal with the crisis:
- Increasing incentives for long term care providers for serving patients discharged from hospitals
- Increase the Department of Social and Health Services to hire more staff to help transition people out of hospitals
- Address the barriers to guardianship for patients in acute care hospitals who are ready to be discharged
- Deploy the National Guard to assist with staffing shortages in hospitals and long term care facilities
- The letter ends with a final statement asking for action by the state.
“We must declare the crisis that our health system is in, provide resources to the health care community and immediately work to free up capacity in our hospitals now in order to mitigate the effects of the current surge,” Sinanan and Keay said.
COVID-19 projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations predict daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths are going to continue to rise in Washington.
As of Jan. 4, 2022, 1,348 people across Washington are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 145 are on ventilators, according to the Department of Health. Two weeks earlier, there were only 716 people hospitalized with COVID-19.