PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has set up a tent near its emergency department entrance to serve as a waiting area amid an “unprecedented” surge of patients.
The medical center is asking people with minor medical needs to go to urgent care or their primary care doctors, instead of the hospital’s emergency department.
“In recent days, PeaceHealth Southwest has seen an increase in mildly ill or asymptomatic patients coming to the Emergency Department for COVID-19 testing, putting added strain on resources,” said Jason Hanley, medical director of hospital’s emergency services. “Those desiring a COVID test are encouraged to visit any of several testing locations in the community where tests are offered free of charge.”
PeaceHealth also said it was seeing a surge in COVID-19 positive patients and encouraged people to get vaccinated against the virus “without delay,” according to a news release. The no visitor policy remains in place at the hospital and all of PeaceHealth’s clinics.
On Thursday Clark County Public Health reported 1,171 new COVID-19 cases since Aug. 12, or about 167 new cases a day, continuing a trend that has seen disease activity surge by 476 percent in one month.
Hospital admissions continued to rise over the past week, with a rate of 9.4 new hospital admissions per 100,000 population over seven days, up from 6.4 per 100,000 last week, according to Public Health data.
As of Tuesday, 91 of Clark County’s hospital beds were occupied by people with or suspected of having COVID-19, up 30 percent from the 70 reported as of Aug. 10. That total accounts for 15.7 percent of the county’s hospital beds.
Public Health also reported that 81.9 percent of the county’s hospital beds were occupied as of Tuesday, slightly higher than last week, and that 90.9 percent of the county’s ICU beds were occupied, the same as last week.
Information about COVID-19 testing can be found on Public Health’s website at clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-testing. People can also go to PeaceHealth’s website, peacehealth.org/coronavirus, for vaccine information.