September 2, 2021

We want to update the community on both our local COVID-19 response as well as the status of hospitals statewide and the impact that is having on our response.

COVID-19 infections locally and statewide continue to be on the rise. We have had multiple patients hospitalized over the last few weeks due to COVID-19. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic. Many hospitals in Washington are reporting having no beds available.

In the midst of this hospitals are also dealing with staffing shortages that were present before COVID and have only grown worse. We are being told by our Regional Emergency and Disaster Healthcare Coalition, who works to coordinate transfers between facilities, to expect to keep some patients for 24-48 hours before a bed at a higher level of care can be found. In many cases rural hospitals are left caring for critically ill patients that would normally be sent on to a larger facility. Several larger facilities are providing crisis care and having to utilize ethics committees to choose who to treat.

Garfield County Hospital is not untouched by these struggles. We have admitted and cared for patients that would usually be stabilized and shipped to higher level of care. We have had critically ill patients that were stuck in our facility while state transfer centers searched Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana for an available bed. Fortunately, we have not yet been overwhelmed by patients needing hospitalization.

We are taking steps to try and prevent this such as now offering outpatient Regeneron treatments which has been shown to decrease disease severity in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections and help decrease the need for hospitalization.

We also continue to take the lead on testing and vaccinating in the county. We support everyone's freedom to choose what is right for them and their health but we do ask our community to be extra cautious and diligent to help prevent a crisis in our local health system.


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