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Today in Idaho hospitals and COVID-19 (updated 10/29): Patients, ERs, ICUs

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Health care workers during a shift at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center on Aug. 30, 2021. (Courtesy of St. Luke’s Health System)

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

Idaho hospitals are now entering a third month with a critical shortage of intensive care beds, despite a sustained push to increase capacity. While Idaho hospitals have more staffed adult ICU beds now than they did a few months ago, they also continue to fill nearly all of those beds.

The delta variant of COVID-19 is loosening its grip on most of Idaho. Still, largely driven by the ICU shortages, a prolonged surge in the Panhandle, and a low vaccination rate, Idaho remains in a statewide crisis for the 43rd day.

The Panhandle makes up about 14% of Idaho’s population, but it produced 22% of the state’s COVID-19 cases last week, Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said in a media briefing Tuesday.

“And the number of hospitalizations in the Panhandle increased by 3% last week,” he said.

Federal data show the following, based on reports from hospitals for Thursday, Oct. 28. (See “Notes” below for additional information about the data.) For quick visual reference, numbers in black are unchanged from the previous day, numbers in red are worsened, and numbers in green are improved.

  • People hospitalized with COVID-19: 522 (previous day: 540) which is 19.7% (previous day: 20.1%) of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • Adults in the ICU with COVID-19: 153 (previous day: 149)
  • Children hospitalized with COVID-19: 5 (previous day: 5)
  • Patients newly admitted to the hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 46 (previous day: 49)
  • Rolling 7-day average of new COVID-19 admissions each day, by age:
    Children: 0 (previous day’s rolling average: 1)
    Age 18-19: 0 (previous: 0)
    20s: 3 (previous: 4)
    30s: 3 (previous: 3)
    40s: 6 (previous: 5)
    50s: 7 (previous: 8)
    60s: 12 (previous: 13)
    70s: 13 (previous: 13)
    80+: 7 (previous: 7)
    age unknown: 1 (previous: 0)
  • People who died in Idaho hospitals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 8 (previous day: 10)
  • Staffed adult ICU beds that were still available statewide, according to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare data: 10 (previous day: 9)

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. Hospital census always fluctuates as patients are admitted, discharged, moved to and from the ICU, and remain hospitalized for ongoing care. And some Idaho hospitals may be behind on reporting through the federal portal from which the Sun gets its data, which can result in revisions to the previous one to three days’ totals. (The federal data use the most recent numbers reported by each hospital in the previous four-day period. The rationale is to get the numbers as close as possible to being accurate; for example, it reduces the risk of hospitalizations appearing to plummet if a large hospital misses a day of reporting.) Where the Sun shows a “previous day” count, that is the number reported the previous day, regardless of whether it was revised up or down since then.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state.