OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Jay Inlsee has asked the federal government for assistance staffing hospitals and long-term care facilities in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Washington State, our hospitals are currently at or beyond capacity, and we need additional assistance at this time,” Inslee wrote in Friday’s letter — released publicly Monday — to Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID-19 coordinator.
Inslee wrote that the state Department of Health has requested 1,200 clinical and non-clinical staff, and that he was requesting deployment of Department of Defense medical personnel “to assist with the current hospital crisis.”
Inslee spokesman Mike Faulk said the state had not yet received a response.
There have been more than 553,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases — plus more than 67,000 “probable” cases — in Washington state, and 7,201 deaths. State health officials say that most of the state’s new infections are caused by the delta variant, a more contagious version of the coronavirus.
As of last week, 75% of people age 12 and older have initiated vaccination and 68% are fully vaccinated.