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Community Resources Update

How we are managing the Kitsap Peninsula Winter Surge

As we enter a winter surge there are three circulating respiratory viruses active in the community – RSV, COVID and influenza – that are putting a strain on hospitals throughout the Puget Sound region, including St. Michael Medical Center (SMMC). Hospitals are reporting an increase in patient volumes and many, including SMMC, have activated surge plans, including extending staffing ratios, using temporary bed locations and boarding patients.

The surge has hit pediatric hospitals particularly hard, impacting non-pediatric hospitals with the need to provide care until transfers are available. Flu, RSV and COVID are having an impact on our staffing too, as we’ve seen the number of employees out on quarantine increase by 70% in the last week.

Thanks to our amazing and dedicated team, we are working together to continue caring for our community.

Here are the steps we’re taking:

  • We opened additional beds in our SADU (Surgical Admissions & Day Unit), and we are working hard to identify additional surge space to help deal with record patient volumes.
  • We implemented surge staffing to support the higher volumes of admitted patients. This required extended staffing and filling additional shifts utilizing incentives. Many team members from across the hospital have been helping to staff the additional beds we have opened. Additional travelers are being sourced to support the additional volumes.

  • We are working closely with our partners at EMS to ensure patients receive care as quickly as possible and to minimize delays. As we experience high patient volumes, it’s likely that lower acuity patients will experience longer wait times than usual as we triage and prioritize emergency needs.

  • Franciscan Medical Group (FMG) is to support patients during this time of increased demand. Our primary care providers are doing their best to see higher same-day sick volumes. We are also recruiting providers across the system to pick up additional urgent care shifts. 

How the community can help: 

  • In the short term, we ask for the community’s help. If you have an emergency, please don’t hesitate to seek care at our hospital. If you’re unsure of whether you should go to the ED, we have an easy-to-use tool to help you determine which care setting is most appropriate based on your symptoms. 

  • We also encourage you and your loved ones to receive vaccinations for flu and COVID-19 as you’re eligible, to reduce the risk of severe illness, and take precautionary measures to minimize the spread of illness.  

  • Utilizing these tools can help to ease some of the high patient volumes we are experiencing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • In addition to working with other hospitals in the state, we are working closely with our partners at EMS to ensure patients receive care as quickly as possible and to minimize delays. As we experience high patient volumes, it’s likely that lower acuity patients will experience longer wait times than usual as we triage and prioritize emergency needs.
        
        

    • Yes, it is always safe to come to St. Michael Medical Center. If patients have an emergency, they should not hesitate to seek care at SMMC.

    • Patients are assessed based on the level of care or urgency of their condition. Patients with less urgent medical needs may receive more appropriate and timely care at an urgent care or primary care location.
         
    • If you’re unsure the right level of care to seek, we have an easy-to-use tool to help you determine which care setting is most appropriate based on your symptoms.

         
        

    • SMMC is actively working with partners at EMS to manage patient volumes, and are increasing efforts to hire additional staff.

    • In the short term, we ask for the community’s help. If you have an emergency, please don’t hesitate to seek care at our hospital. If you’re unsure of whether you should go to the ED, we have an easy-to-use tool to help you determine which care setting is most appropriate based on your symptoms.

    • We also encourage you and your loved ones to receive vaccinations for flu and COVID-19 as you’re eligible, to reduce the risk of severe illness, and take precautionary measures to minimize the spread of illness.

    • Utilizing these tools can help to ease some of the high patient volumes we are experiencing.