BFHD, Kadlec, and City of Pasco Urge Community Effort to Stop COVID-19 Surge

Listen to the full press conference here.

KENNEWICK, Wash–The Benton-Franklin Health District held a joint press conference today featuring local health officials, healthcare executives, and elected representatives. They stressed that local healthcare facilities are in danger of being overwhelmed, and the community must take action to help manage the next wave of COVID-19 cases.

“Case counts are on a steep incline, and the highest we have seen throughout the pandemic,” said Benton Franklin Health District Dr. Amy Person.

Kadlec Chief Executive Reza Kaleel added that the issue of hospital capacity includes not just the number of physical beds available, but also the number of staff available.

“When we are say we are at full capacity for beds, we often mean full to the number we can staff. There is a difference between number of physical beds, and the number we can safely keep staffed.”

Kadlec ER Director Dr. John Matheson spoke also, noting that some patients have had to be transferred out of state due to the COVID-related backups.

“We have a waiting list and longer delays than we’ve ever seen before. Sometimes transferring patients hundreds of miles into other states.”

City of Pasco Mayor Saul Martinez encouraged residents to be responsible in preventing the spread of COVID-19, particularly with large events and festivities coming up in the near future. The panel then elaborated on the effectiveness of masks, the risks of getting vaccinated, who is ended up hospitalized, and the importance of community action.

Some of the points emphasized:

  • Although simple masks are not a perfect solution for preventing the spread of virus particles, they are effective in lessening the spread of larger droplets that often carry viral particles farther distances.
  • The CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that pregnant women still get the COVID-19 Vaccine.
  • Vaccine complications, though rare, tend to occur within the first few weeks. Health officials do not anticipate additional long-term effects.

Lastly, individuals were encouraged to talk to their local healthcare providers for more information.

Source: 610KONA