Unvaccinated people still make up the majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations at Providence

<p><p> Most people hospitalized with COVID-19 at Providence continue to be the unvaccinated.</p></p><p><p>People who need ICU care for the virus, including 30- to 50-year-olds, are not vaccinated, said Dr. Dan Getz, chief medical officer at Providence in the Inland Northwest.</p></p><p><p>It’s still too early to determine what impact the omicron variant will have on local hospitals, Getz said, although staffing is always a concern, especially if the new variant is as contagious as preliminary studies predict.</p></p><p><p>“If a large percentage of the hospital team develop COVID, they are out for 10 days,” he said.</p></p><p><p>Hospitals in the Inland Northwest are making up for lost time, completing delayed elective procedures and surgeries. Getz said Providence has moved its operating room teams back to their unit full-time, especially since COVID volumes have eased. </p></p><p><p>The Spokane Regional Health District is expanding COVID testing, including a program where an at-home test kit is <a href=”https://srhd.org/media/documents/COVIDTestPoster.pdf” target=”_blank”>available to pick up curbside at many public libraries</a> throughout the counties. The test kit can be done at home then mailed in for results.</p></p><p><p><span class=”print_trim”>Additionally,</span> Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velázquez said the district is still in the midst of a pilot program to sample wastewater for the virus.</p></p><p><p>The county did not see a spike in COVID cases following Thanksgiving, indicating people were mindful during the holiday, Velázquez said.</p></p><p><p>Public health and hospital officials continue to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including those who qualify for booster doses. Velázquez said there is enough vaccine supply locally but that with staffing challenges, there may be some delay for those seeking booster shots.</p></p><p><h3>Here’s a look at local numbers</h3></p><p><p>The Spokane Regional Health District reported 86 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths Wednesday.</p></p><p><p>There have been 1,114 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County.</p></p><p><p>There are 66 people hospitalized with the virus in Spokane.</p></p><p><p>The Panhandle Health District reported 105 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death.</p></p><p><p>There have been 735 deaths due to COVID-19 in the region.</p></p><p><p>There are 79 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.</p></p>