Living through a pandemic this past year has been taxing on our healthcare team, on our community, and on each other. Unfortunately, this battle is far from over. On November 15, Governor Jay Inslee announced additional statewide restrictions in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. These restrictions include but are not limited to:
- All indoor dining in bars and restaurants is prohibited. Outdoor dining and take-out are permitted as long as they’re following the current guidelines.
- All fitness facilities and gyms are closed for indoor operations.
- Long-Term Care Facilities are only to allow outdoor visits.
- All indoor youth and adult sporting activities are prohibited. Outdoor activities are limited to intra-team practices only, with facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.
Washington state and Skagit County are seeing an unprecedented acceleration in positive COVID-19 cases. From November 7 through November 19, there was a rate of 337.5 positive cases per 100,000 in Skagit County. We continue to see an increasing number of positive COVID-19 patients being tested at our Hospital from Anacortes, Skagit County and the surrounding area.
In order to meet the needs of those who are critically ill, Island Hospital and Skagit County Public Health are prioritizing COVID-19 testing for actively symptomatic individuals. Island Hospital is providing COVID-19 testing for patients who have been assessed by a provider at one of our clinics. Skagit Public Health Department offers testing for individuals who are either symptomatic or have a medical provider’s recommendation to be tested. Their Drive-Thru Testing Site is now located at the Skagit County Fairgrounds (501 Taylor Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273). It is important to remember that a COVID-19 test is a point-in-time and doesn’t guarantee that you will not be contagious in the future. The virus has an average incubation period between two to 14 days so it is difficult to determine exactly when, after exposure to a COVID-19 infected person, an individual will become contagious.
I am highly concerned for both our healthcare team and our community in how this third COVID-19 wave will impact our ability to provide full service care. As cases increase, hospitals face staffing and capacity concerns. All of us at Island Hospital are committed to adhering to Governor Inslee’s pandemic restrictions to reduce the spread of this virus. We are also taking a number of additional steps internally to ensure the safety of our staff, patients, and community:
- We are holding each other accountable and speaking to peers if they look ill.
- We’re following social distance guidelines of six feet of space between each person.
- We’re encouraging good decision making to protect our own safety, and the safety of our team members and community.
Our Emergency Operations Center is meeting regularly to focus on combating the effects of COVID-19 positive patients within our community. Our primary focus will continue to maintain safe working and patient care conditions within our organization and limit the effects of this pandemic.
It is critical that everyone remembers to practice good decision making. With the holiday season upon us, we hope everyone takes extra precautions as they celebrate. It will look different this year than it has in the past. Sacrificing the social get-togethers now could be the difference our community needs to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Island Hospital Chief Executive Officer Charles T. Hall, MSN, MBA has nearly a quarter century of progressive operational experience leading healthcare organizations in creating new services, expanding and upgrading existing programs and delivering high-quality, evidence-based care. Hall earned two Master’s degrees in 2008 from John’s Hopkins University in business administration and health systems management. In 2002, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Washington State University, Pullman, WA. Hall is married with three children. His family lives in Anacortes and enjoys the outdoor activities of the Pacific Northwest.