Washington hospital said to be at capacity still has bed space, but lacks staff

Yakima, Wash.-based Virginia Mason Memorial officials said they had not met bed capacity June 23, citing miscommunication with local health officials over a previous statement saying the hospital had run out of beds, according to ABC affiliate KVEW

 The hospital has at least 50 beds open, hospital officials clarified June 23. Officials said they wanted patients to know they wouldn't be turned away if requiring care.

Last week, a statement from Yakima Health District stated: "As of last night, Virginia Mason Memorial had no intensive care or non-intensive care beds available. There were multiple patients waiting for hospital bed space overnight. This was after at least 17 patients had already been transferred out of the county. Several individuals are still currently waiting for available bed space." 

Hospital officials said they remain below bed capacity levels, though they do need more specialists and other staff to keep up with treatment demands for COVID-19 patients. Officials said while 17 patients were transferred to other hospitals June 18, typically the hospital only transfers about three to four patients each day.

Though the hospital isn't currently at capacity, it could surpass its limit if the community doesn't work to further minimize transmission, according to Carole Peet, PhD, RN, president and CEO. 

As of June 23, the hospital had 42 COVID-19 patients with 11 on ventilators.

More articles on public health:
COVID-19 activity by region: Where states are surging, reopening
Face mask order waived for people of color who fear profiling, Oregon county says
White House to end funding of 13 testing sites; 7 states see record hospitalizations — 5 COVID-19 updates

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