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Hospitals across Washington state operating at 130% capacity

Hospitals across Washington state are operating at 130% capacity.

That means gun violence victims and people experiencing other emergencies may have a hard time receiving timely care — even if the patients arrive via ambulance, according to Steve Brooks, president of the Washington State Fire Chiefs Association.

"When our units arrive at a hospital, we're more often now even being told to wait inside the vehicles, out in the receiving area for the ambulances," Brooks said. "You know, our vehicles have limited capacity for onboard oxygen and you can easily run through those if you're sitting with a patient out in a parking lot without the ability to receive that patient inside for periods of time."

The Washington State Hospital Association says that non-Covid patients and severe staffing shortages are leading to the increased need for care. So officials are spreading the word that hospital wait times could be long. Please be patient with healthcare workers who are doing their best.