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COVID surge pushes much of Idaho toward medical rationing


Idaho public health officials say crisis standards of care are imminent for the state’s most populous region as hospitals continue to overrun with uninfected coronavirus patients

“We continue to set new records every week,” Jepsen said of the coronavirus hospitalization. “We don’t see a peak.”

Hospitals in the northern part of the state were allowed to start rationing care last week after Cootnai Health in Coeur d’Alene was asked to start treating some patients at a field hospital set up in a convention center instead of in regular hospital rooms. was forced to.

“Almost all the metrics we track are headed in the wrong direction,” said deputy state epidemiologist Dr Katherine Turner when it comes to the coronavirus.

On September 11, more than 600 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, much higher than the peak of the previous winter when 466 people were hospitalised. Coronavirus patients on intensive care units and ventilators are also setting record highs in the state. Most of them – more than 91% – have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The highly contagious delta variant is sickening and sometimes killing more young patients than the original version, Turner said. In 2020, more than half of COVID-19 deaths were among Idaho residents who were at least 80 years old, according to department numbers. This year, more than half of the deaths have occurred in people aged 50 to 79, and just over 7% of deaths were also in Idaho’s younger residents.

But even as the state continues to see new records in the number of people hospitalized or on ventilators with COVID-19, the weekly vaccination rate is falling. According to numbers from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, about 40,000 vaccine doses were given during the week of September 5, compared with 57,000 and 67,000 doses in each of the previous two weeks.

Still, many of Idaho’s most powerful officials have been reluctant to support mask mandates or employment-based vaccine requirements. Idaho Gov. Brad Little has never issued a statewide mask mandate. announced last week that he was working with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to see if he could use the court system to stop President Joe Biden from mandating COVID-19 vaccines by large employers or apply routine COVID-19 testing.

Meanwhile, the governor – like state health officials – continues to urge residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Such insistence has so far been largely ineffective. Idaho is one of the least vaccinated states in the country, with only 50% of its residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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