OMAK — Okanogan County hospital emergency departments have more patients than they are designed to handle because of the recent COVID-19 surge, health officials said Friday.

Three critical access hospitals in Okanogan County — Mid-Valley, Three Rivers and North Valley Hospital — have exceeded capacity.

“The current COVID-19 surge has stretched resources to the limit, and there are no beds available at hospitals elsewhere in Washington state,” health officials said in the news release.

Okanogan County Public Health and the hospitals are asking Okanogan residents to assess their symptoms at home and only go to an emergency room if it is an emergency, according to a Friday news release.

If possible, residents should call their healthcare provider to make an appointment and receive guidance on how to manage their health condition, according to the news release. In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Wait times are long and the hospitals are operating under contingency care but on the verge of moving into crisis standards of care.

Oscar Rodriguez: (509) 665-1179