Inslee Again Criticizes Idaho Politicians Over COVID-19 During Visit to Spokane | Idaho
SPOKANE, Washington – Gov. Jay Inslee called on Idaho politicians to do more to fight COVID-19 after visiting Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane on Wednesday and was told about the backlog of thousands of procedures and surgeries.
Spokane hospitals are treating more Idaho patients than they usually would, and the governor noted the neighboring state’s low vaccination rate. Idaho does not have a mask mandate or a statewide vaccination mandate.
“It’s frustrating that the politicians in Idaho aren’t helping,” Inslee said.
Inslee spoke to frontline providers at Sacred Heart, who said they were treating increasingly younger COVID patients. He learned that a person in their twenties recently died there from the virus.
The Sacré-Coeur and Sainte-Famille Hospital has canceled more than 2,000 surgeries and procedures deemed non-urgent in order to divert medical teams to COVID units. Some of these procedures involved patients with severe pain or with cancerous tumors that needed to be removed, according to medical providers and patients.
Not getting the vaccine, Inslee said, “is a threat to our ability to get medical attention.”
Inslee said he was inspired by the healthcare providers he has met who continue to go to work despite the overwhelming reality of caring for some patients who likely did not need to die.
“I leave with worry and frustration that we are in a situation that doesn’t have to be this way; we have the power to prevent these preventable deaths, ”Inslee said.
The governor said he was concerned about the delay in medical care and treatment for residents of Spokane County, as well as residents of the state, with COVID-related hospitalizations creating staffing issues for them. hospitals.
Inslee has asked for federal help, but state health officials said Wednesday they were unsure whether they would receive personnel support.
In the meantime, the governor has acknowledged the statewide staff shortage that will take longer to correct.
“At the end of the day we have to increase the supply of nurses because otherwise we have hospitals competing for a limited supply of nurses, so the ultimate answer is to get more people into this profession,” Inslee said. .
He said he would examine potential solutions to increase nursing capacity statewide during the next legislative session.
Arielle Dreher’s report for The spokesperson-magazine is funded in part by Report for America and community members in Spokane, Washington.