OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered a temporary halt to elective medical and dental surgeries in the state to free up enough protective gear for medical staff working to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The governor’s proclamation affects all hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and dental, orthodontic and endodontic offices in Washington state.

It applies to any non-urgent medical or dental procedure that requires medical professionals to wear personal protective equipment. 

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“We know the health care personal protective equipment supply chain in Washington has been severely disrupted by the significant increased use of such equipment worldwide,” Inslee said. “We will do all we can to protect the women and men who protect us.”

Some of the banned procedures include: 

  • most joint replacements
  • IVF 
  • most cataract and lens surgeries
  • non-urgent cardiac procedures
  • cosmetic procedures
  • some endoscopy
  • some interventional radiology services

There are some exceptions to the order. For instance, medical professionals can perform an elective procedure if not doing so would cause the patient more harm in the next three months. 

Some examples of that situation include if a patient needed a cancerous tumor removed, or if a patient needed a dentist to relieve pain or manage an infection. 

The order remains in effect through May 18, 2020.

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