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Southern Idaho hospitals nearing possibility of requesting ‘crisis standards of care’

“What we’ve been warned as a health district is that we’re very close in our region, the situation is very extreme”
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 6:25 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Health officials in Idaho have activated ‘crisis standards of care’ for Northern Idaho.

In a Department of Health and Welfare media briefing Tuesday, Director Dave Jeppesen said the rest of the state isn’t far off.

“At the end of the day, we felt like we had just a little bit of wiggle room in the state, but I want to emphasize not much,” Jeppesen said.

According to the South Central Public Health District (SCPHD), southern Idaho is right on the edge.

“What we’ve been warned as a health district is that we’re very close in our region, the situation is very extreme,” said Public Information Officer with SCPHD, Brianna Bodily.

According to data from the New York Times, Idaho doesn’t rank in the top ten states for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, or deaths per 100,000 people.

Idaho is under the national daily average for hospitalizations per 100,000 people currently.

So why is Idaho dealing with these issues when COVID-19 rates are not as high as some other states?

Out of Idaho and its six border states, only Washington has fewer hospital beds per 1,000 people, according to the American Hospital Directory.

Bodily says the health care system in the Gem State is not set up for a continual crisis.

Governor Brad Little said last week, “Our healthcare system is designed to deal with the everyday realities of life. Our healthcare system is not designed to withstand the prolonged strain caused by an unrestrained global pandemic.”

“We’re not in this situation because our hospitals are not prepared necessarily, or because they wouldn’t normally be able to keep up, we’re in this situation because COVID-19 has advanced the need for care so dramatically in the last month or two that our hospitals, at this point, are struggling to keep up,” Bodily said.

Hospitals normally can work with other hospitals in nearby areas and states, but this isn’t the case currently.

“Hospitals are being impacted so severely across the U.S. right now, we don’t have nearly the number of places we typically do to send people, in fact in many cases we’re hearing from hospitals that don’t have any places,” Bodily said.

Kaiser Family Foundation data shows there are fewer professionally active physicians in Idaho per 1,000 than any other state.

Over 99% of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Idaho are among unvaccinated individuals, according to the New York Times.

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