The entire health care community has been experiencing the impact of delta in Washington and our neighbor states. Fortunately, overall case numbers and hospitalizations are declining. However, while these numbers are decreasing, we are still in the midst of the highest peak in the pandemic, with a number of patients still on ventilators. It is essential that we continue sharing the message of the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the Washington State Department of Health, 71 percent of Washingtonians ages 12 and older have received at least one dose, and 70.7 percent are fully vaccinated. This is a great reflection of our state’s dedication to fighting COVID-19.
Washington also recently passed a milestone of the state’s vaccine requirement – in order to be considered fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, health care workers must have received the Moderna or Pfizer second dose or Johnson & Johnson single dose by this past Monday, Oct. 4. WSHA is hearing from our members that many hospital and health system staff are choosing to be vaccinated. We are cautiously hopeful that hospitals will be able to maintain access to services even with some staff refusals. We will know more after we have the results from a survey of our membership that is currently in the field. We will share the data results next week and will keep you updated with what we learn. Beyond hospitals, we remain concerned about the impact of the requirement on staffing for emergency medical services, which are critical for patient transport and level-loading among hospitals and long-term care facilities which hospitals rely on to accept patients no longer in need of acute care. We are working with our long-term care partners and the state to better understand and plan for impacts to services. .
We ask that you continue to help us share this message with the public: The best way to support our health care workers and avoid adding more strain to the health care system is to get your COVID-19 vaccine, get your flu immunization, continue wearing your mask, do your routine doctor appointments and take care of your overall health.