A thank-you to healthcare workers photographed at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in October 2020. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

A thank-you to healthcare workers photographed at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in October 2020. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

Vaccine compliance high among health care workers here

Providence reports 92%; Swedish 98%; EvergreenHealth in Monroe over 95%.

EVERETT — Less than two weeks before the state vaccination deadline for medical workers, local hospitals report high levels of compliance.

By Oct. 18, Washington health care workers have to be fully immunized against COVID-19 or get a religious or medical exemption.

The rule comes as hospitals in Snohomish County and elsewhere battle burnout and low morale. In the past year and a half, health care workers have been on the front lines of a pandemic that has killed more than 700 county residents.

The battle against the pandemic has been “exhausting and disheartening for our staff,” Taya Briley, executive vice president of the Washington State Hospital Association, said at a media briefing this week.

And while local COVID numbers have somewhat retreated, the top health official in the county warned this week of a coming winter wave. At Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, hospital leaders reported reopening extra intensive care unit beds because the hospital’s usual ICUs are full.

About 92% of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett’s caregivers are in compliance with the governor’s requirement, spokesperson Casey Calamusa said in an email this week.

“We are seeing that number go up every day,” Calamusa wrote.

To be in compliance means either an employee has been fully vaccinated or has received an exemption.

Darren Redick, Providence Northwest Washington CEO, said in a Friday statement that the hospital is reviewing exemption requests. The hospital system has set up an online portal for staff to submit vaccine verification and file for an exemption.

Redick anticipates 1% to 2% of the Everett hospital’s care givers won’t comply with the mandate, forcing them to lose their jobs and potentially straining an already tightly staffed operation.

“We are hopeful the number of staff who choose not to comply with the Governor’s executive order will not significantly impact our operations,” Redick said. “However, we are putting contingency plans in place to address staffing issues that might arise.”

Providence staff who are not vaccinated have one-on-one conversations with supervisors to go through their concerns and discuss options.

Swedish Health Services reported 98% of its caregivers are in compliance across all campuses, including the one in Edmonds. That number went up after the mandate was implemented, leaving Swedish “optimistic” about staffing levels, said the organization’s chief nursing officer, Kristy Carrington.

Spokesperson Tiffany Moss said the organization isn’t sharing vaccination rates by campus.

At EvergreenHealth Monroe, the figure tops 95% as of Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Skagit Regional Health, operator of Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington, said it has a team working to verify compliance among over 2,700 employees across all its medical centers. The hospital system is “aware that a limited number of staff” won’t be working after Oct. 18, the spokesperson said.

“We regret the loss of any staff related to compliance with the vaccine mandate,” the Skagit Regional Health spokesperson said. “We hired each member of our team to play an important role in the work that we do and do not want to lose any employees. However, we also respect the decision of our staff to do what they consider to be best for their personal circumstances.”

An Everett Clinic employee is one of about 100 staffers from across the state suing Inslee and state agency heads in federal court over the vaccination mandate. The lawsuit argues the mandate will cause “irreparable harm” with the loss of state and health care workers. It calls the penalties for not getting vaccinated “overly severe, punitive, and unconscionable.”

A spokesperson for the governor’s office, Mike Faulk, said the state is in a “good position” with vaccine compliance among health care workers.

“We are greatly encouraged by the numbers going up significantly every week and we’re confident they will continue to rise,” Faulk said. “Being proactive, (the Washington Department of Health) has worked with the federal government to assess potential needs for the state’s health system as well.”

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A Sound Transit train arrives at Westlake Station in downtown Seattle. (Sue Misao / Herald file) May 2019
Should light rail skip Paine Field and Boeing? We asked, you answered

More than 300 Herald readers responded to an online poll. Here are the results.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Highway 9 work could disrupt travel through Lake Stevens

Construction is set for roundabouts on South Lake Stevens Road and one at North Davies Road and Vernon Road.

Lynnwood City Council members, from left: Jim Smith, Shirley Sutton, Shannon Sessions, Josh Binda, George Hurst, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, and Patrick Decker. (City of Lynnwood)
No penalty for Lynnwood council member’s ‘underinformed’ views on racism

The City Council didn’t censure Jim Smith after a report found he discriminated against a Black city employee.

All ears: Mukilteo couple provides surgery for kids born without ears

Dr. Prabhat and Trish Bhama are part of a HUGS volunteer team providing treatment for microtia in Guatemala.

Conceptual rendering for a future section of Smokey Point Boulevard between 174th Place NE and 200th Street NE. (City of Arlington)
Plan seeks to transform Smokey Point Blvd. into ‘neighborhood corridor’

City officials hope roundabouts, sidewalks and more will turn 2 miles of busy road into a neighborhood street.

Genghin Carroll, 8, walks up and high fives his mom Andria Carroll after riding the ferry over to meet her for a dental appointment on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Welcome aboard, kids! Ferry rides are free for those 18 and under

The move to let children ride ferries for free is the latest result of Move Ahead Washington legislation.

Judge Paul Thompson, left, with Strom Peterson and his wife Maria Montalvo after being is sworn in Wednesday afternoon at the Snohomish County Administration Building in Everett, Washington on September 29, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
State Rep. Peterson appointed to Snohomish County Council

Carin Chase had by far the most supporters present Thursday, but it was Strom Peterson who won the council’s unanimous vote.

Students make their way after school at Edmonds-Woodway High School on March 12, 2020. All public and private schools in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties must close for six weeks. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Police: Student, 15, arrested with loaded gun at Edmonds high school

Around 1 p.m., students reported a classmate with a gun at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

A woman was injured in an attack Sunday at Clark Park in Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Police: Purse snatching in Everett park led to stabbing

A Snohomish woman, 36, was arrested for investigation of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

Most Read