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Inslee requests federal medical staffing resources

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Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter Monday to Jeff Zients, federal COVID-19 response coordinator, requesting federal staffing resources, including clinical and non-clinical staff, to support the Washington health care system in response to rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The letter reads, in part:

"In Washington State, our hospitals are currently at or beyond capacity, and we need additional assistance at this time. Our hospitals were nearing capacity this summer - before the Delta variant hit our state. Much of this volume was due to delayed care during the early part of the pandemic.

"Once the Delta variant hit Washington state, COVID-19 hospitalizations skyrocketed. From mid-July to late August, we saw hospitalizations double about every two weeks. The hospitals have surged to increase staffed beds and stretch staff and have canceled most non-urgent procedures, but are still overcapacity across the state.

"For these reasons, I have directed state agencies to request assistance from the federal government to provide Washington State with medical staff resources to help meet staffing needs in hospitals and in long-term care facilities. To date, the Washington State Department of Health has requested 1,200 clinical and non-clinical staff through the General Services Administration contracting process offered through FEMA.

"I am further requesting the deployment of Department of Defense medical personnel to assist with the current hospital crisis. In announcing the COVID-19 Action Plan, the President indicated that more clinical teams would be available. That assistance will be of significant value in Washington state.

"While there are hopeful signs that the current wave of infection is peaking, and some states are beginning to see declines, we have not yet seen that effect here. Washington State has historically lagged the country in previous COVID-19 waves, and the same pattern is playing out with the enormous impact we are seeing from the Delta variant."

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