Local hospitals and EMS spread awareness of medical system strain; ask residents to remain vigilant

Officials from Grays Harbor County hospitals as well as the Grays Harbor Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Care Council are asking residents to use local medical resources efficiently.

In a joint letter to the community, they say that the COVID-19 pandemic has put strain on our system in several ways. 

They say that they are seeing increased numbers of patients who have serious medical problems. 

While some of these patients are COVID positive, others are delaying health care and becoming sicker before seeking the care they need. 

Both hospitals state that they are facing severe staffing shortages, and while healthcare staffing shortages are nationwide, it is much worse in rural areas.

The letter states that when combined, these factors have led to a shortage of emergency care and hospital beds available in Grays Harbor County. 

This has caused some emergency patients needing to be transported out of town to receive care, increasing time for transport which can lead to worse outcomes.

In order to be able to provide the best care to those who are having a medical emergency, the hospitals and local EMS are asking people to consider how they approach their medical care.

  • If you think you might be having a medical emergency, please call 911.
  • You should NEVER delay seeking care if you think you might be having a heart attack or stroke. Time matters.
  • If you arrive at an Emergency Department, you will not be turned away. It may take time, but you will be seen.
  • The best medical care is prevention of medical emergencies. Please see your primary care provider regularly and be attentive to your chronic medical conditions. Many emergencies can be avoided with routine care.
  • If medically able, get a COVID vaccination. 

“Getting vaccinated is the fastest and safest way to get back to a more normal life. The more we let COVID-19 persist, the longer we will be dealing with its effects.”

The letter was signed by EMS Medical Program Director Dr. Julie Buck, Summit Pacific Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Deitrich, and Harbor Regional Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Marie Wong.