COVID-positivity rate drives OMC hospital admissions

PORT ANGELES — A snapshot of Olympic Medical Center was provided Thursday by CEO Darryl Wolfe.

Of the 54 patients in the hospital’s acute care units, 14 are suffering with COVID-19, Wolfe reported in an online news conference.

Twelve of them are unvaccinated, he said, and range in age from their 30s up to their 80s.

The two vaccinated patients are elders between the ages of 60 and 89.

Olympic Medical Center is reconfiguring the hospital and re-erecting the emergency tent outside the annex building, he noted, and postponing all non-urgent surgeries.

These measures are to create capacity wherever possible “as we continue to work through the surge,” and accommodate “a lot more patients seeking ICU levels of care.”

Dr. Scott Kennedy, OMC Chief Medical Officer, noted the hospital currently has sufficient ventilators and medication supplies, but “we anticipate a high rate of [hospital] admissions” in the coming days.

The number of positive COVID tests, at OMC’s drive-through site and throughout Clallam County, is reaching record highs, he said.

Clallam’s positive-test rate hit 21.4 percent during the two-week period that ended this past Monday. In Jefferson County, the rate is 11.82 percent.

“I see birthdates from the 1920s to the 1960s, regularly. Just the age of this group of positive cases puts individuals at risk of hospitalization and more severe disease,” Kennedy said.

Through all of this, OMC is laboring under an intense shortage of people.

Working through the past many months has left OMC’s workforce fatigued and overwhelmed, Chief Human Resources Officer Jennifer Burkhardt said.

Nurses must sit beside patients as they take their last breaths. No one knows when the pandemic will come to an end. These things, she said, have a powerful effect on workers.

OMC has 1,640 employees, Burkhardt noted, but it also has 231 positions open.

Nearly 70 of those are nursing positions.

OMC is redeploying the staff members who would have been needed for non-urgent surgeries, distributing them around the hospital. Still, many workers are out, Burkhardt said, so it is difficult to staff all of the shifts.

“We are seeing an array of responses” to Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccination mandate, she added.

For the most part, OMC’s staffers are vaccinated or have initiated the process; Burkhardt expects to have the workforce “mostly intact” by the Oct. 18 deadline.

There is much fatigue and stress, she acknowledged, but there is also resilience, “and there is great patient care happening.”

________

Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or durbanidelapaz@peninsuladaily news.com.

More in News

Print edition available today, e-edition only this Wednesday

Peninsula Daily News has a print edition available to… Continue reading

Port Angeles High School graduates, from left, Uri Crawford, Samantha Combs and Jordan McTear, decorate a vehicle in preparation for Friday’s graduation parade from Ediz Hook to the high school. Dozens of adorned cars and trucks carried grads through the streets of Port Angeles as a lead-up to the graduation ceremony that evening at Civic Field. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Congrats, grads!

Port Angeles High School graduates, from left, Uri Crawford, Samantha Combs and… Continue reading

Dash Air to leave Port Angeles

‘Nothing to do’ with viability of air service, owner says

Clallam County art barn to get new roof before fair

Commissioners approve $85,000 contract with company from Kent

Sequim schools drop proposal to bump back start time

Survey respondents prefer to keep Greywolf Elementary at 8:30 a.m.

Sequim chamber to host tax credit event

The Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce will host a family… Continue reading

Scheduled Hood Canal bridge closures canceled

Overnight closures of the Hood Canal bridge on state Highway… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Three-year-old Archie Hanson takes a spin on a merry-go-round pushed by his mother, Justine Hanson of Port Angeles, with sister Arlene Hanson 7 months, during Sunday's grand reopening of the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles. The playground was rebuilt earlier this month by volunteers after an arson fire destroyed much of the playground equipment in December. Although there are still details to attend to and minor adjustments to be made, the facility will be open daily from dawn until dusk.
Grand reopening at Dream Playground

Three-year-old Archie Hanson takes a spin on a merry-go-round pushed by his… Continue reading

Wind returns for Day 3 of Race to Alaska

Teams pushing north along Vancouver Island

Port Townsend pool on track to open in July

Task force favors Chimacum Park for replacement