SEATTLE (AP) — The number of people who are hospitalized in Washington to receive treatment for the coronavirus has reached a record high, forcing hospitals to make changes to meet the influx of patients, health officials said.
There were 762 people receiving hospital care for the virus in Washington as of Saturday, KOMO-TV reports.
“I am very, very worried about it,” Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer said.
Leaders from hospitals statewide met last week to consider strategies to ensure they have room to care for COVID-19 patients as the hospitalization rate climbs.
“Every hospital is now making a plan for how they’re going to cancel elective surgeries so they’re looking at their cases, especially those that would require long hospital stays after surgery and making plans that they may need to cancel those,” Sauer said.
The cancellations under consideration to make room for coronavirus patients include joint and heart valve replacements and some cancer surgeries, Sauer said.
At the Swedish First Hill campus of Seattle's Swedish Medical Center, 10 coronavirus patients were admitted within a span of five hours Wednesday.
“We’ve reduced in-patient elective surgeries to allow us to expand our in-patient urgent and emergency medical beds,” Dr. Elizabeth Wako said. “Our teams are tired. They are fatigued but they are resilient and we will continue to fight COVID.”
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.