VANCOUVER, Wash (KOIN) — Hospitals in Southwest Washington now sounding the alarm that they are nearing capacity when it comes to handling a surge of cases from RSV, the flu and COVID-19.
This comes after Oregon hospitals said they are facing the same dilemma, with growing concern that it will get far worse.
Peacehealth Southwest Medical Center, for example, is currently more than 90% full, and Clark County doctors tell KOIN 6 News that one big hole is in prevention.
“We are even more stressed,” said Dr. Jason Hanley with Peacehealth Southwest Medical Center. “We are constantly trying to figure out who needs care the quickest, and that can lead to some people waiting a significant amount of time, hours and hours, to be seen.”
Out of people aged 55 and up, the most vulnerable to severe flu complications like pneumonia, more than 75% have not gotten a flu vaccine this fall. On top of that, most people have not gotten a COVID booster shot.
There are long waits in the emergency rooms with people coming in with respiratory illnesses, many wanting testing. SW Washington health leaders say to go to your doctor or urgent care for testing.
“[You] are much less likely to get infected if you are vaccinated,” said Clark Couty Deputy Health Officer Dr. Steven Krager. “Even if you do [get infected], you are better protected from more severe illness.”