Today, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a three-week extension of the state’s current restrictions that will now be in place until January 4, 2021.
The three-week extension of statewide restrictions come as the state’s healthcare system nears dangerous occupancy levels. With the effects of Thanksgiving on infection and hospital numbers still unknown, the extension will grant the state’s medical system much needed time to increase Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity before it’s overwhelmed.
“We all hoped a fall surge would not materialize. Sadly, that was not the case and our hospital systems continue to be heavily impacted by rising cases,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “It’s important we stay the course right now. We cannot let our guard down, even though it’s hard and we’re tired. We need people to mask up, stay home as much as possible and delay gatherings with anyone outside your home.”
Currently, nearly 80% of ICU beds are currently occupied, with around 1,000 residents in those units. Even in the best-case scenario, hospitals across the state would need to add surge capacity to ensure enough ICU beds to care for COVID-19 patients in the weeks and months to come. In the worst-case scenario, state ICU capacity would need to be doubled before the end of the year.
“They’re not all COVID patients taking up the ICU beds, which is very important to remember: If COVID overwhelms our medical facilities, every other person with a significant medical need will be affected, not just COVID-19 patients,” Inslee said. “We are all, quite literally, in this together.”
Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.