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COVID-19 still looms large for Samaritan

by EMILY THORNTON
Assistant Managing Editor | September 17, 2021 1:05 AM

Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake, like those throughout the country, continues to provide care for patients with COVID-19. Most of the patients had not been vaccinated against the virus causing COVID-19, but a few were vaccinated.

As of Wednesday — the latest count available — there were 23 COVID-19 patients at Samaritan, 10 of whom were in the intensive care unit. Of those, nine weren’t vaccinated and one was. Four of the 10 were on a ventilator.

Additionally, the hospital’s 12 ICU beds were in use, with two non-COVID-19 patients adding to the mix.

There were 12 COVID-19 patients in the medical/surgical unit, 11 of whom weren’t vaccinated and one who was. Twenty of the 25 beds in that unit were used, which included non-COVID-19 patients.

There also was one COVID-19 patient in the emergency department who wasn’t vaccinated.

No COVID-19 patients were in the mother/baby unit; eight of its 13 beds were used.

The 50-bed hospital can accommodate up to 200 patients total in case of a surge, but Gretchen Youngren, Samaritan executive director of development & communications, wrote in an email Thursday the “scenario would be absolute worst case scenario. She also said the hospital hasn’t “gone beyond phase one of surge planning operations.”

“As of this morning, we do have some beds available on our medical/surgical unit, but we are full on ICU,” she wrote. “The key sticking point with our current census is the severity of illness we are seeing. With four COVID patients on ventilators, that’s the highest we’ve seen throughout the pandemic.”

She said whether the hospital was full was “answered with a variety of considerations, including patient severity and bed availability.”

There were 155 COVID-19 deaths as of Wednesday in Grant County since the start of the pandemic, according to the Grant County Health District’s website. About 11,033 people had recovered as of Wednesday, it stated.

Samaritan Healthcare CEO Theresa Sullivan said hospital staff were there for people.

“As our community continues to see unprecedented COVID-19 cases, our teams at Samaritan are doing everything they can to provide care to the patients, and support to the families and loved ones affected by the virus,” Sullivan said in a statement. “Even on our toughest days, we have encouraged our staff to let our organizational values guide us in our everyday work. Our values are listen, love, respect, excel and innovate. And I think really, a key part of what we’ve focused on has been listening, loving and respecting. And while there’s all kinds of feelings out there that people have regarding COVID, if we come back to those things, that’s something we can all agree on and really focus on that to move us forward.”

She also encouraged people to support health care providers.

“If you have a health care worker that you know, that’s a friend, that’s a neighbor; support them,” she said in the statement. “Thank them for what they’re doing because it is not an easy job right now for our staff and any of the positions. And so I would just say to our community as a whole — thank you for your support of your local health care teams, and understand that the actions that you take today, are the actions that can make a difference for many of us tomorrow.”