About 88% of Washington’s hospital staff are vaccinated against Covid-19, according to a survey released Monday by the Washington State Hospital Association.
The organization asked its members how many of their employees were inoculated by October 4. That was the last day employees could receive a shot and be considered fully vaccinated by the state-imposed October 18 deadline.
Hospital association CEO Cassie Sauer expects over 90% of hospital workers will be vaccinated by then.
“We think it’s between two and five percent of hospital staff will not be able to work on October 19. Maybe it could be a little later because, for folks who are partially vaccinated who get their shots this week, for example, I think hospitals are likely to put them on leave, not terminate them, and then have them be able to come back after they finish their vaccination series," she said.
Rural health care systems, where vaccination rates are lower, may be hit harder, including in Newport.
“We’re looking at losing probably about 10% of our staff, which is extremely significant. Mostly it’s spread out between all different departments, but our largest concern is our physical therapy department. We’re looking at probably losing about 50%," said Christina Wagar, the hospital's chief operating officer.
That would be seven or eight employees.
The WSHA survey doesn’t include veterans’ hospitals, Washington state psychiatric hospitals or health care systems that don’t operate hospitals.