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Friday, June 2, 2023
June 2, 2023

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Legacy Health to pause nonurgent surgeries as COVID precaution

System anticipates a large surge in hospitalizations over the coming weeks

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

Legacy Health announced Monday it will pause all nonurgent surgical procedures for two weeks to free up hospital beds for patients who are critically ill.

The pause falls under the health care system’s surge plan to address the increase in COVID-19 patients and staff shortages.

Clark County has seen disease activity surge by 476 percent in one month, with the highly contagious delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, dominating new cases statewide.

“The delta variant is creating a significant strain on our hospitals and staff, and in the coming weeks, Legacy Health is projecting an unprecedented number of hospitalizations,” Legacy said in a news release Monday afternoon.

Patients will be contacted by their provider to reschedule their procedure, according to the news release, or they can reach out directly to determine if their procedure is impacted.

“We will continue to assess and modify scheduled procedures throughout the organization to ensure we have the right resources available to care for the needs of our communities,” Legacy said.

Legacy encouraged people to get vaccinated and follow mask mandates.

Citing the rapid increase in COVID-19 caseloads and hospitalizations around the state, Gov. Jay Inslee last week imposed new mandates requiring all public, charter and private school teachers and staff — as well as those working at state colleges and universities — to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or risk losing their jobs.

COVID-19 vaccine is available at no charge at many local pharmacies and medical providers.

Inslee also expanded the state’s mask mandate, which went into effect Monday, to require all people to wear masks in nearly all indoor settings regardless of their vaccination status. He also strongly recommended masks for crowded, outdoor settings, such as outdoor concerts, fairs and farmers markets.