KOMO News received a statement on staffing level concerns from the Washington State Nurses Association.
“We have already heard concerns from some of our members about staffing issues in their hospitals, and we’re still only at the beginning of the anticipated winter surge. Some of the staffing issues are driven by COVID-19 outbreaks at hospitals like St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, where nurses are taking time off while waiting for test results. It is important to remember that nurses and other health care workers have been on the front lines of this crisis for over 8 months now. They are exhausted. Many have used up their paid time off to cover furloughs and illness, including from contracting COVID-19 themselves. It is critical that we support nurses and other health care workers with proper PPE, timely testing, rapid notification and paid leave for both awaiting test results and quarantine so that they are able to take care of patients through this surge.”