For immediate release: September 8, 2021 (21-199)Spanish
Contact: DOH Communications
Public inquiries: State COVID-19 Assistance Hotline, 1-800-525-0127
Statement on hospital capacity and crisis standards of care
Hospital capacity is currently stressed across the state of Washington. The surge in hospitalizations is one that Washington Department of Health (DOH), with its healthcare partners, has been monitoring closely. At this time, partners across Washington have undertaken a number of strategies to stretch resources and mitigate current challenges.
DOH has adopted and plans to use the ethical framework developed by the National Academy of Medicine, which stresses the importance of an ethically grounded system to guide decision-making in a crisis standards of care situation. It also defines surges capacity within the healthcare systems, during normal operations and disaster operations, as a continuum: from conventional to contingency and finally crisis. The goal is to prevent ever having to utilize crisis standards of care anywhere in Washington.
DOH is working with state, federal, and private partners to mitigate Washington’s health care surge by accessing additional volunteer and contracted resources, coordinating information sharing, and supporting efforts to shift patients to healthcare facilities that can best support their care. DOH encourages Washingtonians to help by doing their part such as getting vaccinated, wearing masks in crowded or indoor public places, and taking other preventive steps.