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Overlake Medical Center reports several days with no new COVID-19 patients

Once at the center of our nation's first major coronavirus outbreak, Overlake's ER director now feels "optimistic."

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Eleven months after the nation's earliest coronavirus patients began flooding into its ER, Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue now reports a stretch of several days with zero new positive cases.

"We can finally feel optimistic again," said Dr. Eric Shipley, director of emergency operations at Overlake Medical Center. "A year ago it was quite frightening."

The stretch of no new cases is the longest since the pandemic began. 

RELATED: One year later: How life has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic

In April 2020, Shipley says the hospital saw a peak of 60 COVID-19 positive patients in need of life-saving care in the ER. Staff was maxed out and stressed. Personal protective equipment like masks and ventilators were in short supply and many staff members had to isolate themselves after being exposed to the virus.

But with a span of several days with no new cases, Shipley says he can reflect on "lessons learned."

"People are resilient. And predicting the future is precarious," he said. "We've come a long way. We've learned how to treat it, and we will continue to learn more. But we'll still be surprised by this virus."

RELATED: How many people in Washington state have been vaccinated for COVID-19?

Public Health – Seattle & King County officials report hospitalizations are down county-wide. In a seven-day stretch starting March 1, a total of 39 patients were admitted to hospitals in King County. The hospitalization rate is currently down to 4.6% from its peak of 17.6% in April 2020.