All Articles in the Category ‘COVID-19’

Update on Hospital and Emergency Department Capacity, COVID-19 and Chemotherapy Drug Supply at Seattle Children’s

Emergency Department and hospital volumes

  • Patient volumes in the Emergency Department (ED) are typical for summer; we continue to experience surges and high patient acuity in the ED.
  • Hospital census was higher this summer than in typical summers pre-pandemic. Significant planning is occurring to prepare for the fall/winter surge.



  • We are beginning to see increased SARS-CoV2 activity as our testing positivity is increasing; we expect rates to further rise with the start of school.


Chemotherapy drug supply

  • The national shortage of chemotherapy drugs continues.
  • We continue to monitor our supply closely and work with our distributors to ensure we have adequate quantities including methotrexate.
  • We are coordinating our efforts regionally and nationally to look for long term solutions to ongoing medication shortages that impact patient care.


Updates on Hospital Capacity, the Chemotherapy Drug Shortage and COVID-19 Mask Guidance at Seattle Children’s

Emergency Department volumes

A new space opened in the hospital in July to help care for Emergency Department (ED) patients with mental health concerns. The ED still has capacity constraints, especially in the evenings secondary to patient surges and patients who remain in the ED awaiting final disposition. Effective July 18, Seattle Children’s deactivated the code yellow for the surge in youth mental health patients and the Emergency Department (ED). Seattle Children’s continues to update our policies and improve workflows to support mental health patients experiencing extended lengths of stay due to barriers to discharge.

Please continue to call the Mission Control team at 206-987-8899 when sending a patient to the Seattle Children’s ED.


Chemotherapy drug shortages

A nationwide shortage of certain chemotherapy drugs is impacting many hospitals, including Seattle Children’s. It is not yet known when supply will improve. Some of our patients may require changes to their treatment; our care teams are working hard to limit negative impacts. We are working with multiple distributors to secure as much medication as possible. Read full post »

Hospital Capacity Update From Seattle Children’s

Updated Masking Policy

Seattle Children’s is continuing to require masking in all clinical areas and public-facing areas of the hospital and our clinics, following the April 3 conclusion of Washington state’s order requiring universal masking in healthcare facilities. Seattle Children’s, along with many of our healthcare peers, signed onto a letter from the Northwest Healthcare Response Network in support of continued masking.  Seattle Children’s masking requirement applies to patients, families, visitors and workforce members. Masking will be optional in Seattle Children’s nonclinical buildings and non-public-facing areas of our clinical buildings.

Our visitor policies were updated effective April 3 to allow more visitors at the bedside. Details are available on our website.

Code Yellow Deactivated

Seattle Children’s deactivated its Code Yellow for high census and hospital capacity constraints, effective March 15, 2023. This is the first time in years that Seattle Children’s is not in active Code Yellow.

Very High Patient Volumes in the ED

Despite having little to no RSV/flu activity, the Emergency Department (ED) continues to see high patient volumes and broke previous all-time records for March.  We are continuing to see very high mental/behavioral health volumes in the ED. We also continue to experience fluctuations in inpatient census. We are using the processes and operational improvements established during the Code Yellow period to manage patient flows.

ED Communication Center Is Now Part of Mission Control

Seattle Children’s recently formed a new Mission Control office that brings together multiple teams, including the former ED Communication Center, to improve and streamline our processes for patient admissions, discharges and transfers.

When sending patients to the ED or requesting direct admission to the hospital, please continue to call first: 206-987-8899 (formerly the ED Communication Center; now Mission Control). Your call will help us anticipate staffing needs and plan for your patient’s arrival.

Available at Seattle Children’s: Bivalent COVID-19 Booster for Kids Ages 6 Months to 5 Years

The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children ages 6 months through 5 years.  We offer the bivalent versions of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to this age group at our main hospital campus vaccine clinic. Pfizer only is available at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) Othello.

  • Children ages 6 months through 5 years who previously completed a Moderna primary series are eligible to receive a Moderna bivalent booster 2 months after their final primary series dose.
  • Children ages 6 months through 4 years who are currently completing a Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer bivalent vaccine as their third primary dose.

For more information: Eligibility criteria and other details about COVID-19 vaccines for children are found at the COVID-19 vaccine information page on our website.

Updates: Hospital Capacity and COVID-19

Unprecedented ED Patient Volumes and Inpatient Census

  • Seattle Children’s Emergency Department is open and ready to care for all children needing emergency care. Do not hesitate to direct patients to the ED if they need immediate medical attention.
  • We continue to see very high levels of inpatient census and ED visits in the wake of unprecedented mid-September volumes, driven primarily by non-COVID-19 respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses.
  • We continue to run under a disaster incident command structure and contingency status for staffing and space.
  • We ask that providers continue to manage patients in primary care whenever possible and appropriate.
  • When sending families to the ED, please call our Communications Center first (206-987-8899) to help us with staffing and space planning.
  • Please advise families to expect longer-than-typical wait times at our ED and that we are triaging to see the sickest patients first.

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