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Today in Idaho hospitals and COVID-19 (updated 11/1): Patients, ERs, ICUs

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A health care worker in personal protective equipment observes a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise on Sept. 16, 2021. (Audrey Dutton, Idaho Capital Sun)

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

Patients with COVID-19 occupied about one in seven Idaho hospital beds this weekend. For intensive care units, that ratio was about one in two beds. Idaho’s ICUs cannot seem to catch a break, and the state remains under crisis standards of care for the 46th day.

There were 10 unfilled ICU beds in Idaho on Halloween, according to state hospital data. That’s in spite of surge staffing that has allowed Idaho’s hospitals to staff an average of 319 total ICU beds statewide, more than before the delta coronavirus surge.

Idaho ramped up the use of monoclonal antibodies, which can keep people most likely to get seriously ill from ending up in the hospital at all, if the drugs are given early in the disease. Last week, health care providers administered more than 400 units of the drugs.

Unlike vaccination, the treatments are not available to everyone age 12 and up, and they aren’t as effective as vaccines.

Idaho continues to have the lowest overall vaccination rate in the U.S., and one of the lowest rates among eligible age groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But each day, hundreds of people in the state receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to state vaccination data.

“It’s not too late to get the vaccine,” Idaho Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch told the Idaho Capital Sun in an interview Friday.

Federal data show the following, based on reports from hospitals for Sunday, Oct. 31. (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: 482 (previous day: 502) which is 20.1% (previous day: 20.2%) of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • Adults in the ICU with COVID-19: 153 (previous day: 149)
  • Children hospitalized with COVID-19: 6 (previous day: 10)
  • Patients newly admitted to the hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 52 (previous day: 58)
  • Rolling 7-day average of new COVID-19 admissions each day, by age:
    Children: 1 (previous day’s rolling average: 1)
    Age 18-19: 0 (previous: 0)
    20s: 3 (previous: 3)
    30s: 4 (previous: 3)
    40s: 5 (previous: 5)
    50s: 6 (previous: 8)
    60s: 9 (previous: 11)
    70s: 14 (previous: 13)
    80+: 7 (previous: 8)
    age unknown: 1 (previous: 1)
  • People who died in Idaho hospitals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 12 (previous day: 9)
  • Staffed adult ICU beds that were still available statewide, according to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare data: 10 (previous day: 17)

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 provide numbers that are as accurate as possible; for example, it reduces the risk that hospitalizations appear to plummet when 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.