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COVID-19 surge threatens to force hospitals to ration care

“I think that if things continue to go unabated for the next couple of weeks, we could very well be there.”
PHOTO: Patient in a hospital bed. Hospitals in Utah are reaching patient capacity in intensive...
PHOTO: Patient in a hospital bed. Hospitals in Utah are reaching patient capacity in intensive care units, Idaho is not far behind, according to doctors.(CDC)
Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 11:31 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - With Idaho continuing to see COVID-19 numbers rise, hospitals are becoming concerned with how they can continue to care for all their patients.

Regionally, Salt Lake City is expecting to have to ration care as intensive care unit beds fill up. St. Luke’s Dr. Joshua Kern said in essence, this would force the hospitals to choose who lives and who dies. If Utah hospitals have to move to this criteria, patients who are getting worse despite receiving intensive care would be moved out of the ICU to allow someone else to receive the care. In the event that two patients are in the same condition, the younger patients would get priority over the old, since older patients are more likely to die. This is troubling because Salt Lake City would be one possible location St. Luke’s Magic Valley would transfer patients if Idaho hospitals reached capacity.

“I think that if things continue to go unabated for the next couple of weeks, we could very well be there,” Kern said. “Particularly if we see cases rise quickly in Ada and Canyon County area, and our hospitals here in Boise getting filled up. We’re going to be to toeing that line before too long, a couple of weeks probably.”

Kern added Monday morning St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center reached an all-time high of COVID-19 patients with at 58.

See more data from Idaho’s coronavirus website.

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