The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Washington is rapidly rising as new cases of the virus soar across the state.
The Washington State Department of Health warned that they are seeing an “alarming increase” in the number of people hospitalized with the virus, as well as those in Intensive Care Units (ICU).
According to the department’s risk assessment dashboard, the number of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals doubled from 471 on November 1 to 932 on November 23.
The number of patients in the ICU rose approximately 75% in the same time period: from 124 on November 1 to 214 on November 23.
“If this doubling rate continues, we may have over 1,800 COVID-19 patients in our hospitals by mid-December,” the health department said.
Patients with COVID-19 may be hospitalized for several weeks, they say, meaning that hospital occupancy numbers will continue to rise even after admissions have stopped.
Due to a lack of available beds, some hospital systems may be forced to delay non-urgent procedures.
“This situation is extraordinarily urgent, and we need everyone in Washington state to take action now to stop the spread of COVID-19 before our hospitals and frontline healthcare workers are overwhelmed,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy.
“I am extremely concerned about the current exponential growth of COVID-19 cases. We must all re-commit to flatten the curve now.”
According to the department’s latest statewide situation report, the overall percentage of people with an active case of COVID-19 is higher than the peak seen in late March.
Cases are increasing across all age groups, particularly among those aged 25 to 39 and 40 to 59.
As of November 8, the virus’ reproduction rate was 1.48 in western Washington and 1.51 in eastern Washington. The virus is in decline if the rate is below one.
“The situation is incredibly urgent, and there is still time to turn the tide before our hospitals become overwhelmed,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “Each action we take to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 matters.”