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Providence gives update on COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Spokane

There have been more pediatric patients with COVID-19 and Sacred Heart Medical Center is using their post-operative area to treat patients who need intensive care.

SPOKANE, Wash — Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dan Getz held a press conference about current COVID-19 trends on Thursday.

Getz answered questions about the current COVID-19 trends among children and staffing issues situation in Spokane. He said Providence has seen an uptick in the amount of pediatric patients. 

"I think as many as 10 is probably our highest number of patients that we've seen at one point," Getz said. "But this is really the first time in the COVID serves this last few weeks where we've seen an increase in children being admitted for the care of COVID, and many of those who are too young to be vaccinated."

Getz said many of the patients at Providence at the ICU's were younger patients that require hospitalizations, and who were not vaccinated despite they were eligible.

Providence Communication Manager Ariana Lake said at Sacred Heart Medical Center, they are using their post-operative area to treat patients who need intensive care unit (ICU) level care after having major surgery.

"It is not an additional COVID space for care – it is a way we are alleviating the pressure and volume on our ICU unit, Lake said". This allows for more room in our ICU for patients with COVID. This is a good example of our need to be flexible and innovative with our space as the COVID surge continues.”

Getz took some time to answer some of KREM 2's Morgan Trau's questions, including how the COVID-19 care and treatment for children differed than that from adults and the number of children in ventilators. He told KREM he didn't have an exact number of how many children were in ventilators, but the treatment they receive was very similar to that for adults. 

"Thankfully, we're seeing that they [children] require ventilators much less frequently, that's one advantage of being a child, you're much more resilient than we are as adults," Getz said. "Although it's it's less frequent, It's still equally tragic when you see a child that requires that level of care."

Getz said they are not looking into more overflow areas or talking with partners about more places to put COVID patients as they feel very comfortable in capacity. 

"We have done other things like activating an additional team of hospitalist, and hospitalists are the internal medicine physicians who care for hospitalized patients," Getz said." And our division lead has brought in a team of community physicians who would normally be an outpatient clinics to help care for other patients inside the hospital."

Getz said the hospital has used monoclonal antibodies for several weeks, which is a good therapy, but the treatment is not made for everybody with COVID-19.

"It's not for patients who require treatment in a hospital. It's for those patients that have the highest risk factors for being hospitalized," Getz said. "And it's a therapy that if we can get it in early, will hopefully prevent them requiring hospitalization."

Getz compared the healthcare staffing situation at Providence with the Groundhog Day movie.

"I feel like our healthcare year should be like dog years, like one year equal seven. That's what this is felt like. It's it's really similar to that Groundhog Day movie with Bill Murray, where every day is the same," Getz said." Except every day is kind of a horrible day, and I think that's how people in healthcare are feeling right now."