Southeast Washington (Walla Walla area)

February 18, 2021 Providence News Team

Information about COVID-19 Vaccines

Walla Walla County Department of Community Health (DCH) is leading community vaccination efforts, in partnership with community organizations, including Providence St. Mary/Providence Medical Group.  DCH is actively planning vaccination clinics; however, scheduling is based on the availability of the vaccine, which is variable and unpredictable.  The hope is to offer vaccine clinics frequently, in a central, easily accessible location.  DCH is committed to sharing information timely and transparently and is working to keep their website and Facebook page updated with current information and will also be sending media releases as appropriate. 

We are encouraged by the interest in the community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage everyone to get vaccinated when it’s available to them, as it is a key step in saving lives and ending the pandemic.  We appreciate the community’s understanding that the number of people wanting and eligible to receive the vaccine far exceeds the number of doses of vaccine we currently have available.  It will take time, patience and community partnerships to vaccinate everyone who wants to be vaccinated for COVID-19. 

We are experiencing high call volumes at the hospital and our clinics.  We are not able to answer questions regarding vaccine availability or schedule vaccine appointments over the phone. For information on vaccine phases, including when you and your family will be eligible to receive the vaccine and information on vaccine clinics/appointments, please visit the Washington State Department of Health website and click on the Vaccine Phase Finder Tool.  Please also visit the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health website  and  the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health Facebook page for up-to-date information regarding community vaccine events.  DCH has convened a task force to work with local community partners  to reach those who do not have Internet access  and those who face other barriers to getting vaccinated.  Additionally, Washington State Department of Health has installed a COVID-19 Vaccine hotline 1-800-525-0127 Press #, to assist residents who may not have access to a computer.

Please know the health and well-being of our caregivers, our patients and our community remains our highest priority. Thank you for continuing to do your part to keep you and our communities safe by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently. Stay safe and be well.

11/19/20 - Providence St. Mary asks community for help in turning the tide of COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, experts have predicted a winter surge, and now for Walla Walla it has begun.

Walla Walla County has the highest COVID-19 positivity rate per thousand in the State of Washington. At Providence St Mary Medical Center we’re seeing the largest number of COVID-19 patients we have ever had.

 We have been preparing for this and have taken steps to increase our capacity to free up more inpatient hospital beds. While we have taken these steps, we need the help of each person in this community to do everything they can to keep those beds from being filled. The large number of patients we are caring for is stretching our ability to staff the beds, and the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community also increases the risk our frontline caregivers could become ill as well. Most hospitals across the state are facing these same challenges due to COVID-19.

The increase in cases has largely been driven by informal social gatherings with friends and family. We all long to be together, especially during holidays, however, COVID-19 exploits tiny gaps in our defenses: removing masks when sharing a meal, attending a milestone birthday, attending a memorial service. All have all led to outbreaks in our nation, state and county.

 If the trend continues, every health system in the state could be overwhelmed. Your actions now are essential to turning the tide. This community has been incredibly supportive of health care workers and we are forever grateful. The best thing you can do to support them now is to wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and stay healthy. 

We can all save lives, protect health care workers, and ensure health care services remain open and available to meet all the health care needs by adopting these few simple actions recommended by the Washington State Hospital Association:

  • Double down by keeping gatherings small, wearing masks and staying at least six feet apart.
  • Thanksgiving should be immediate family only. (Locally we saw an escalation in cases after Halloween and previous holidays such as Labor Day and the 4th of July).
  • Do not gather indoors with people from outside your household. Gathering indoors is riskier than outdoors.
  • Wear masks, both outdoors and indoor when you are around anyone outside your household.
  • Increase ventilation –  keep windows open when inside with anyone outside your household.
  • Limit trips outside your home, including travel.
  • If you must gather for the holidays, quarantine for two weeks prior to ensure you will not infect others and ask others who plan to attend to do the same.

 Let’s turn the tide of COVID-19 in our community.

About the Author

The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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