Healthcare leaders in Washington State say they’re concerned that the region’s healthcare system may not be able to handle any upticks in cases, or injuries, that could be coming if the state and local fairs continue as planned.
During a state hospital association briefing Monday, Dr. Dave Carlson, the chief physician officer at MultiCare in Tacoma, cited the Washington State Fair. It’s due to open Friday in Puyallup, about a mile from MultiCare’s Good Samaritan Hospital, which currently houses about 100 Covid patients.
“I am very, very concerned about the stress that that will put on our emergency room and the stress it will put on our systems because, undoubtedly, a number of those people are going to need care for routine stuff, cuts and bumps, broken arms and legs," he said.
In a normal year, without the large number of Covid patients, he says hospitals would be able to handle those injuries with little problem. He says he’ll be crossing his fingers that no unforeseen events will add to the health care system’s stress.
“Our state doesn’t have the capacity to manage a mass event at this point. I would look no further than the news and what’s happening in New Orleans right now on the Gulf Coast with the hurricane," he said.
Five of Washington’s county fairs were cancelled this summer, including in Thurston, Jefferson, Clark and Clallam counties, according to the Washington State Fairs Association. The latest to be called off is the Southeast Spokane County Fair, which was scheduled for September 18 and 19.
All of the rest of the events planned for September, including the Spokane County Interstate Fair, are still on the schedule. A spokeswoman at the state fairs association says officials around the state with 2021 events still on the calendar are keeping a close eye on the Covid situations in their communities.