Are Inslee’s Claims of ‘Overwhelmed’ Medical Systems Accurate?
While nobody disputes that COVID is especially hard on elderly, compromised and other high risk persons, Gov. Inslee repeating a claim he made months ago seems suspect.
During his address Sunday about the second 'back step' for the Washington state economy, Inslee claimed medical systems (hospitals) could "soon" be overwhelmed. His office even released a video from a medical ER worker in Seattle (on his Facebook page) claiming conditions are as bad as this worker has ever seen.
However, when you crunch the actual numbers (aside from alleged rising cases) such as death rates and hospitalizations it's curious.
As of Monday, in Benton Franklin County, according to the Health District, of the 385 people in beds in our four hospitals, 8.8 percent are there for COVID or COVID like symptoms. 34 out of 385,
In Walla Walla County, as of Monday, according to the WWCHD, 9 people hospitalized. The county did not provide overall in bed patient numbers.
In Yakima County, 14 people are in the hospital for COVID, 4 of then intubated (breathing assisted). They did not provide overall hospital in bed census numbers.
In Adams County, whose data is hard to run down like many of the smaller counties, 2.98% of county residents who are in the hospital have COVID.
In Spokane County, 81 people in the hospital now, there have been 625 TOTAL hospitalizations since COVID 'began' out of a total of 13,040 cases. Again, since the beginning of pandemic. Spokane is home to Deaconess, Sacred Heart, and several other mammoth sized facilities.
And, in King County, where one would think levels would be off the charts, over the last 14 days (the standard WSDOH measuring stick) there have been 191 people hospitalized. Considering the population numbers there, surprising.
In addition, what the state doesn't tell you, and something we saw even in the Mid Columbia during the first Stay at Home, how many staff are actually working in these care facilities, including hospitals? Due to lockdown, medical demand in the Tri-Cities plummeted with dozens of workers being furloughed or not scheduled for days on end--even in our hospitals. Except to necessary or emergency needs, pretty much all elective surgeries procedures were cancelled. People even stopped going to the ER or Urgent Care clinics for issues they'd normally get looked at.
People relayed story after story of empty, deserted Emergency Rooms, empty parking lots at hospitals and more. Over, and Over and Over.
Likewise in other counties. Then when incidents did tick up, there were less workers on hand, creating these so-called 'overwhelming' conditions Inslee speaks of.
So, more doubt is being cast on Inslee's claims of overwhelmed medical systems. Even GOP Senator Mike Padden Tuesday (4th District Spokane) blasted WSDOH officials and Inslee for the lockdown citing low numbers in his District. Padden even supplied these stats (as of Monday) in defense of lifting what he calls a "Draconian" statewide lockdown. According to the Spokane County Health District:
- Less than 60% of all licensed hospital beds in Spokane Co. are occupied (Total number of beds in Spokane Co. is 1531; Total beds occupied are 907).
The restrictions are supposed to end December 14th, no one is guessing or betting if they will end early, or be dragged on through Christmas.