Dear members of the community,
Recently, a local talk radio host has been sharing tragic stories of patients in the hospital during the COVID pandemic who have not been able to receive visitors due to our visitation policy. While we can’t comment on individual patients, we know how important visitors are and the decision to limit visitation is heartbreaking and incredibly difficult.
At the peak of the Omicron surge, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett had more than 200 COVID patients in the hospital – nearly double our previous high during the pandemic. In addition, because Omicron is so contagious, we have been experiencing higher levels of staff absences than ever before, and we need to take every precaution to prevent further infections and allow us to safely staff the large number of patients in the hospital. (Providence adheres to CDC guidelines and state/local health department requirements which govern how we respond to and address caregiver COVID-19 exposures, symptomatic and asymptomatic cases, and return to work).
Like most hospitals across the country, we limited visitation to protect our vulnerable patients, our caregivers, and our community. Visitor restrictions are a hardship for patients, their loved ones, and for our caregivers. However, we must prioritize the safety of our patients, many of whom are immunocompromised, unvaccinated, or otherwise medically fragile.
Even with visitor restrictions, we regularly allow exceptions for end-of-life visits, Pediatrics, the Family Maternity Center, patients with disabilities, and more. We also have escalation processes in place to grant visitor exceptions, and our caregivers also help facilitate phone and video visits.
The changes to our visitation policy are temporary and we anticipate resuming expanded visitor access if case rates continue to fall in our county and hospital. We are monitoring this matter closely and will adjust as soon as we can safely do so (this morning we still had nearly 90 COVID patients in the hospital).
The pandemic – and the steps that have needed to be taken to limit the spread of COVID – has been beyond painful for all of us and our hearts ache for those who have been lost and for those who have lost loved ones. We appreciate the understanding and support of our community in keeping our patients, visitors, and caregivers safe.
Providence Northwest Executive Leadership Team
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