COVID hot spot Yakima County exceeding hospital capacity

June 20, 2020 GMT

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Hospitals in Yakima County — which has the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in Washington state — are beyond capacity with sick patients.

Virginia Mason Memorial hospital in Yakima, which holds more than 200 beds, had none available as of Thursday night, intensive care or otherwise, the Yakima Health District said in a statement late Friday.

The Seattle Times reports at least 17 patients had already been transferred out of the county. That leaves a total of 61 individuals in hospital beds with positive COVID-19 diagnoses, the county’s highest to date.


And “all hospitals” are experiencing severe staffing shortages — many due to COVID-19 cases within hospital staff, symptoms of the coronavirus, or proximity to a quarantined patient.

Nearby Benton and Franklin counties are also feeling the strain on their health care systems, but Yakima County remains Washington state’s hot spot for the virus. The county now represents 22% of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Washington (61 of 242 cases), a higher tally than King County, which is nearly 10 times larger than Yakima County.