'We need your help'; King Co. hospitals at breaking point for capacity

Harborview Medical Center

King County hospitals are urging people to get vaccinated and boosted, as they are at the breaking point of capacity – and almost all of their COVID-19 patients are unvaxxed.

A call to action penned by hospital leaders says that while there are promising signs as omicron cases appear to be falling from their peak, health care centers were already at critical capacity before the recent surge. They have since had to cancel surgeries and other medical procedures just to treat COVID patients.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: COVID-19 surge halts elective surgeries for thousands of Washingtonians, including cancer survivor

This has left an immense backlog of surgeries, putting those patients in a precarious situation.

"The sheer number of patients means hospital acute care and ICUs across the state are very full. Hospitals are doing everything they can with critical staffing levels to provide care in the most challenging situation we’ve seen to date," said Cassier Sauer, President and CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association. "The patients most severely impacted by COVID-19 are almost all unvaccinated and unboosted. If you haven’t yet, please get vaccinated."

Officials say COVID-19 hospitalizations have spiked 700% in a single month – going from around eight to 70 people hospitalized per day.

"We’ve already had to cancel most surgeries — delaying care that would help someone live a better, healthier life," reads the call to action.

To help mitigate the strain on hospitals, officials urge people to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, wear higher-quality face masks, avoid crowded spaces, save the ER for emergencies, and do not delay routine healthcare visits.

RELATED: Washington launches website for free at-home COVID-19 tests

READ MORE: Washington bill seeks to criminalize use or sale of fake vaccine cards

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