COVID hospital numbers looking better in Washington state

Authorities in Washington state said Monday that COVID-19 hospital admission rates "look better" but hospitalizations still remain high.

Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association, said during a weekly news briefing that deaths continue to rise — an expected trend that often comes two to four weeks after a surge of hospitalizations. She said about 30 people in the stat are dying of the coronavirus each day.

The Seattle Times reports that as of two weeks ago, the state Department of Health’s most recent, complete COVID-19 data, Washington’s average hospitalization rate was about 14.7 admissions per 100,000 people, down from 17.7 admissions per 100,000 people in late August.

Although hospitalizations are dipping, the hospital association also remains concerned about the state’s lack of monoclonal antibodies — a treatment shown to be highly effective in preventing hospitalization among people with mild to moderate COVID-19 if given within seven to 10 days after symptoms appear.

Hospitals and other providers used to order the treatment directly from the manufacturer, whereas now the manufacturer is giving allocations to states through the federal government.

Staffing shortages, especially among nurses, continue to worry hospital leaders, who say workers are still "pretty discouraged" despite some optimistic hospitalization trends.

"They’re going through all the emotions, all the hard work required to take care of COVID patients," Dr. Radha Agrawal, pulmonologist and critical care medicine specialist at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, said Monday. "But at the same time, they’re not seeing the positive (long-term) results they’re hoping for."

READ MORE: Rare access: A look inside Harborview Medical's somber COVID-19 ICU

RELATED: New York could use National Guard to fill ranks of unvaccinated health care workers

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