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Today in Idaho hospitals and COVID-19 (updated 8/29): Patients, ERs, ICUs

Boise - Hospitals - 2021
Otto Kitsinger
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Boise’s Saint Alphonsus hospital is the trauma center for the region. Its emergency department, medical units and ICU are reaching capacity as COVID-19 cases increase again. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Get daily updates on Idaho hospital capacity, pediatric and adult COVID-19 hospitalizations

Idaho has entered new territory in the coronavirus pandemic. The state’s hospitals continue to have record-breaking occupancy rates, as dozens of new patients are admitted each day with COVID-19.

Not all patients in Idaho’s hospitals have COVID-19. But the surge is another, preventable layer of medical demand on an already strained system.

Federal data show the following, based on reports submitted by hospitals Saturday, Aug. 28:

  • Idaho hospitals with a critical staffing shortage: 5
  • People hospitalized with COVID-19: 471 which is 19.9% of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • Adults in the ICU with COVID-19: 143
  • Adults newly admitted with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 84Age 18-19: 020s: 430s: 640s: 650s: 1560s: 2070s: 2380+: 10
  • Children newly admitted with confirmed COVID-19: 0
  • People who died in Idaho hospitals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 8

Note: These numbers may differ from those reported by the state, local public health districts or individual hospitals. There are multiple reasons for this: Some agencies use different methods and data sources. A small number of Idaho hospitals may be a day behind on reporting through the federal portal from which the Sun gets its data. Hospital census always fluctuates throughout the day as patients are admitted and discharged.

North Idaho hospital prepares for “crisis standards of care”

One of Idaho’s largest hospitals said Wednesday that it has begun the process of seeking a move to “crisis standards of care.”

That would allow hospitals in some or all regions of Idaho to triage patients based on health condition and likelihood of survival. Beds and nursing care, medications, equipment and/or other resources could be rationed. “Crisis standards” could be implemented for just a short time, or longer periods of days or weeks.

Idaho has never reached a point of medical emergency that called for “crisis standards,” narrowly avoiding them last fall and winter. The crisis must be apparent, with hospitals exhausting every resource available to give patients a higher standard of care.

But Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene has reached a critical point where it may need to resort to such measures, Idaho Reports first reported this week.

The Sun will share daily updates on the situation in Idaho hospitals. See below for detailed tables and charts. Questions or comments? Reach reporter Audrey Dutton at adutton@idahocapitalsun.com.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.