Virginia Mason Franciscan Health forces employees to get vaccinated

BREMERTON – Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, the largest healthcare provider on the Kitsap Peninsula, decided Friday to require all of its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“After careful consideration, we believe this is a necessary step to ensure the safety of patients and team members, and to ensure that our communities have full confidence in the safety of their care environments. Said Dr. Michael Anderson, medical director of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. officer, said in a statement to Kitsap Sun. “We appreciate the dedication of our employees over the past year to deal with the devastating effects of COVID-19 and are finalizing the details of the vaccine requirement. “

The news was a turnaround for the hospital giant and followed several healthcare providers in Puget Sound, including Kaiser Permanente and MultiCare, who announced a vaccination mandate earlier in the week.

Virginia Mason Franciscan’s Kitsap operations include St. Michael’s Medical Center in Silverdale, its emergency room and regional campus, as well as community providers like West Sound Orthopedics and The Doctor’s Clinic.

Its vaccine needs come as a wave of new COVID-19 cases, accelerated by the delta variant, sweeps across the county and country. At the beginning of July, there were 19.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week in Kitsap. By the end of the month, that number had risen to 87.4. The highest case rate is among people aged 19 to 34, according to the Kitsap Public Health District.

The health district says 61.4% of Kitsap County residents aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The latest data shows there are currently 12 people in Kitsap’s intensive care unit for COVID-19, according to the health district; it is against three in mid-July. Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the vast majority are unvaccinated.

There were 9,648 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 during the Kitsap pandemic, including 410 hospitalizations and 124 deaths, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

Josh Farley is a reporter covering the Army and Health Care for the Kitsap Sun. He can be reached at 360-792-9227, [email protected] or on Twitter at @joshfarley.

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