Skagit Regional Health

The main entrance to Skagit Valley Hospital.

MOUNT VERNON — Amid reports nationwide of overburdened intensive care units, the number of COVID-19 patients at Skagit Valley Hospital appears to be under control.

As of Wednesday, 10 were in the hospital with the disease, and none was in serious enough condition to be on a ventilator, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Connie Davis. 

This is a marked improvement over December, when the hospital hit a high of 20 COVID-19 patients, she said. 

The hospital is licensed for 137 beds, and Davis said each could be filled with a COVID-19 patient if necessary. 

"We would take as many as the building would hold," she said. 

Davis said she attributes the stability of the county's hospitalization number to Skagit County Public Health staff, who have been proactive in communicating with long-term care facilities, where cases can easily spread and quickly become serious. 

Many of the county's new COVID-19 cases are in those 20 to 39 years old, an age group less likely to develop symptoms serious enough to require hospitalization. 

However, Davis said this age group can spread the virus to higher-risk family or friends if public health guidelines are not followed.

She said the hospital has used monoclonal antibody treatments five times since they were authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

These treatments, which include the brand-name Regeneron, have been shown to reduce the severity of COVID-19.  

Davis said those with COVID-19 who experience shortness of breath should come to the emergency room and request such treatment. The treatment is less effective if patients wait until symptoms become more severe. 

The treatment is authorized for patients 65 or older, or who have multiple medical conditions, she said. 

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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