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'It makes zero sense': Providence doctor slams decision to hold Spokane County Fair

Providence Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dan Getz addressed the fair during a press conference where he addressed COVID-19 trends and the pause on elective surgeries.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Providence Health Care held a press conference Wednesday afternoon about the state of Spokane hospitals and medical centers. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dan Getz talked about recent national news coverage of the Inland Northwest, COVID-19 trends among pediatric patients and the pause on all elective surgeries.

Getz said 18 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU on ventilators and none of these patients are vaccinated. He said Providence has historically been able to accept 90% of transfer requests. Now, they’re struggling to accept half of those patients.

"When you're unvaccinated and you get put on a ventilator for COVID, the odds of you getting off of that and living is roughly a 60% chance of dying, it's like a flip of a coin basically are you going to live or are you going to die," Getz said. "This a horrible disease for people to get stricken with."

Getz also talked about how the fair going on is an irresponsible decision at this time.

"It makes zero sense in the middle of the pandemic and we’re hearing reports that we're lucky if a quarter of those people are wearing masks," Getz said. "And, so what it tells me is the community doesn't understand the level of crisis that we’re dealing with and they don’t understand the incredibly difficult decisions that they’re making and delaying care for people."

Spokane County Commissioner Josh Kerns released a statement about the decision to keep the fair going.

"Our community has had so many events taken from them over the last eighteen months. The fair staff has worked closely with the Washington State Department of Health and the Spokane Regional Health District to make the Spokane County Interstate Fair as safe as possible. Large events have been happening across the State of Washington including the Washington State Fair, College Football games, and professional sporting events."

Kerns added that they added more safety measures like handwashing stations and room for more social distancing. He also said they are following Gov. Inslee's indoor mask mandate. 

Kerns also said they are looking for help from the community. If they are sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay at home. 

Watch the full press conference below or click here

On Tuesday, Providence announced they would be pausing all non-emergency surgeries at Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. The halt in procedures went into effect Wednesday. The paused surgeries include those that can be delayed without harm or risk to a patient. 

Last week during a joint press conference with other regional heath care providers, Providence's Chief Operating Officer Peg Currie said Sacred Heart and Holy Family are caring for their highest number of COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began.  

As of last Friday morning, 150 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized at the two hospitals. The New York Times reported that 29 of Sacred Heart's inpatients last week were from Idaho

Dr. Getz closed the press conference by stressing the importance of vaccines and use of masks. He pleaded with people to get vaccinated and wear a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19.