Tri-Cities hospitals treat fewer COVID patients, but staff are ‘exhausted and frustrated’
September 29 – The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment in Benton and Franklin counties fell to their lowest levels since early August.
However, the number of patients being treated for the disease remains high, with hospitals still under pressure to treat both COVID-19 and other patients.
“We are exhausted and frustrated – exhausted and frustrated that hospital staff are out of breath when masking and vaccines could save lives,” a quote from a registered nurse said on the Facebook page of the Regional Medical Center on Wednesday. Kadlec in Richland. Morning.
Lourdes Health in Pasco said late last week it was at full capacity, with many patients being held in the emergency room until a bed was available for them.
On Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 patients reported by the four hospitals in the two counties fell to 78, from 127 on September 13, according to data from the Benton Franklin Health District.
This compares to 22 patients a year ago and 15 patients six months ago at hospitals in Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and Prosser.
Almost a third of all patients hospitalized earlier this month were being treated for COVID-19 and that figure fell to 20% of patients on Wednesday.
Fewer hospitalized COVID patients could mean fewer deaths from the disease in the coming weeks, after a record number of COVID deaths in recent weeks.
The Benton Franklin Health District, which reports deaths on Friday, reported 22 recent deaths from COVID-19 last Friday, which followed 11 to 12 recent deaths on the previous two Fridays.
These figures do not include a backlog of 22 recently reported deaths that occurred earlier in the summer, for a total of 458 deaths from COVID-19 in the Tri-Cities region since the start of the pandemic in 2020 .
Vaccination of the three cities
The COVID-19 vaccination rate has increased in the Tri-Cities region, although the percentage of people vaccinated remains lower than rates in Washington state.
Dr Amy Person, head of health for Benton and Franklin counties, told last week’s Kadlec on Call podcast that at the start of the summer the percentage of residents vaccinated increased by about 0.5 % per week and in recent weeks it has increased to 1.5. % to 2% per week.
“Still small numbers but a significant change for this area and a change for the better,” she said.
Statewide, 74% of those eligible for the vaccine – those aged 12 and older – received at least one initial dose of the vaccine, with 67% of those eligible fully vaccinated. The data does not include a small percentage of people vaccinated under some federal programs, including the Veterans Administration.
In Benton County, 62% of residents aged 12 and older received at least one initial dose of the vaccine, with nearly 55% fully immunized.
In Franklin County, 59% of vaccine-eligible residents received at least one dose, with 50% fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
A free vaccination clinic, with both the flu and the three brands of COVID-19 vaccines available, is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at Goodwill, 3521 Court St., Pasco. No appointment is necessary.
The first 50 people will receive a $ 50 grocery gift card.
People who completed their series of two Pfizer vaccine injections at least six months ago can now receive a third “booster” dose if they are 65 years of age or older; are between the ages of 50 and 64 with underlying medical conditions or are between the ages of 18 and 64 and have underlying medical conditions or are at high risk of exposure due to their work.
Tri-Cities COVID case
The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 appears to have leveled off in the Tri-Cities region.
The average daily number of new cases is now around the previous local peak of the pandemic last winter.
The rate of new cases for Benton and Franklin counties combined Wednesday fell to 921 new cases per 100,000 people over two weeks, from a rate of 967 over two weeks the previous day. This compares to a rate of 969 three weeks ago and 935 at the winter peak of the pandemic.
For the first five days of this week, starting with the weekend, the Benton Franklin Health District reported an average of 175 new confirmed cases per day, up from 189 cases per day last week.
At least 49 new cases of COVID-19 have been attributed to the Pendleton rally September 15-18 in Umatilla County, Ore., A large annual rodeo with related events.
However, to date, no case in the Tri-Cites area has been linked to residents who attended the event.
This story was originally posted on September 29, 2021 at 12:58 p.m. ET.