“Don’t think we’re still there”: local hospitals ready for planned operations, worried about less restrictions

SPOKAN, Washington. – The governor says that Washington is on the way out of the pandemic. While everyone wants this to happen, local hospitals are concerned that it may be too early to ease all COVID restrictions.

“We didn’t come out of the pandemic,” Dan Springer said. He is the Chief Operating Officer at Diaconis Multicare Hospital.

The governor, however, says we are almost there. This is one of the reasons why he refused to postpone the planned operation. These operations may resume on February 18.

“I believe that now Washington State can begin to move forward by making this transition,” said Gov. Jay Insley.

He says COVID cases are declining across the state, and expects Washington to see very low numbers in March. Inslee is watching global trends showing that omicron cases are declining sharply after reaching their peak. Although Springer is a little nervous before the transition, he says they are ready for surgery again.

“Doctors are ready to take care of their patients,” he added. “We are ready to do our job and provide people with the help they need when they need it.”

He wants the state to turn the corner, but he also doesn’t want us to back down. The governor has also already announced the end of the mandate to use the mask outdoors on 18 February. Insley said he would publish a date when the indoor mandate would be reduced in the coming weeks. Springer hopes, but isn’t sure, that now is the best time to ease all restrictions.

“I don’t think we’re still there. I really hope so, and I want it just like everyone else, so I hold and cross my fingers, ”Springer said. “I hope we continue this right trend.”

He says the COVID cases in Deaconess are on a plateau, which is good, but people are still sick with the virus. The governor said he was confident of easing the restrictions because of the trends they see in the state.

“Hospitalization with COVID-19 is declining on both sides of our state,” Insley added. “This is great news.”

Springer says Amicron Peak in East Washington is just behind the West Coast. In addition to the high burden on patients, there is no shortage of medical staff. Because of this, freeing hospital beds is key.

“Overall, we’re trying to really get people out of the hospital and get help in other settings,” Springer said.

The Department of Social and Medical Services is attracting additional staff to the Royal Park of Health and Rehabilitation in Spokane. These resources will free up beds so hospitals can take care of more people, especially if more patients are able to come in for surgery.

“We need to plan not only the operating room but also the complete facility and make sure everything works together in perfect quality to be able to take care of patients,” Springer added.

Patience in this pandemic was not easy for anyone.

“It was so hard to predict what would happen next,” Springer said.

If Washington is preparing to turn the chapter on COVID, those at the forefront are hoping it’s not too soon.

“We see a spread every time we go back to a comfortable place, then another round comes along, another option affects us,” Springer said.

Whether Governor Insley lifts his mandate for an indoor mask in the coming weeks, Springer says hospitals will remain cautious. He does not expect healthcare facilities to stop demanding masks any time soon.

READ: A bill to ease the burden on patients for health workers has been passed to the Senate

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