Idaho's COVID outlook is dire as cases continue to climb
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Health care workers are exhausted and angry. Some of Idaho's coronavirus vaccines are expiring because they have sat unused for so long. And coronavirus case numbers and deaths continue to climb, putting the state among the worst in the nation for the rate of new COVID-19 diagnoses.
Idaho's public health leaders painted a grim picture — again — during a weekly briefing on the pandemic Tuesday.
The state continues to set record highs with 686 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Sept. 18, 180 of them in intensive care unit beds and 112 on ventilators, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Dave Jeppesen said. At the moment, there is no end in sight to the surge.
“The numbers continue to increase, and we expect them to continue to increase,” Jeppesen said.
The entire state entered “crisis standards of care” last week, officially allowing hospitals to ration health care as needed so that scarce resources can be directed to the patients most in need and most likely to survive.
Urgent surgeries have been placed on hold, some patients are being treated in hospital lobbies or field hospitals, and hospital administrators and doctors are desperately trying to shuffle the sickest patients to any facility that has enough open beds or ventilators to treat them.
On the weekend, physicians at one Idaho hospital nearly had to face “de-allocation" — in which one patient is taken out of an ICU bed in order to give it to someone with a greater chance of survival — but narrowly avoided it after beds were found for patients at hospitals elsewhere in the state and some other patients died, said Dr. Jim Souza with St. Luke's Health System.
Jeppesen said his family experienced crisis standards of care first-hand, when own mother had a stroke just a few hours after the...