CAMAS, Wash. (KOIN) — Clark County health officials say COVID hospitalizations are the highest they’ve ever been during the pandemic. Beds in the Intensive Care Unit are maxed out and staffs are stretched thin.

In recent days, health officals said ICU beds in Clark County have been running at 97% capacity. Projections show hospitalizations are expected to rise for at least another 2 weeks. Non-emergency surgeries have been put on hold at all hospitals in Clark County.

The re-opening of schools is creating a challenge for scientists developing COVID projection models. Last year, very few students got sick in Clark County classrooms . But even with the delta variant, health officials believe school is still one of the safer places for kids.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that even with delta which is more contagious, with the masking distancing,ventilation, all those things in place, Ihope that will mitigate any large impacts on our case numbers from schools,” said Clark County Health Officer Dr. Steven Krager.

Staffing shortages at Clark County hospitals are a big concern. Some health care providers are temporarily sidelined after testing positive and there’s concern whether hospitals will lose employees when the vaccination mandate for health care workers goes into effect at PeaceHealth on Tuesday.

The big challenge now is keeping people out of the hospital. Breakthrough cases are starting to grow in Clark County. Hospitalizations are still rare among the vaccinated, but those getting sick tend to be older than 65.

Health officials maintain getting vaccinated, social distancing and wearing masks indoors are the most effective tools.

There are some therapeutic treatments that can help patients avoid the hospital. Monoclonal antibodies have gotten a lot of interest and there is good evidence they do prevent hospitalization.