Hospital workers use pandemic lull to take a much needed break

COVID-19 put Idaho hospitals in crisis multiple times in the last two years
A lull in COVID has provided area hospital workers the chance to breathe a little easier
A lull in COVID has provided area hospital workers the chance to breathe a little easier(KMVT)
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:06 PM MDT
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Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — A slowdown in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Idaho has allowed healthcare providers an opportunity to evaluate what went wrong in Idaho’s fight against the pandemic.

“What we want to do next time is not have to play the catch-up game. Be able to hit the ground running,” said Brianna Bodily from South Central Public Health District.

Over the past two years, conversations KMVT had with Idaho’s healthcare providers were often about the lack of time they had between surges to plan for the next wave or analyze pitfalls in the current healthcare system.

“We’ve had a chance to just start to have those conversations about how the last two years went and how we can do better if we see future waves,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn.

When asked what to attribute this pause in chaos to, Dr. Hahn says immunity gained from a weaker omicron variant and vaccination has helped but cautions that the safety net is faulty at best.

“We know those immunities wear off over time, so we can’t rely on them forever. But we’re grateful for right now. We seem to be doing ok, even as we see new types of omicron coming through,” Hahn said.

While the response to the COVID-19 pandemic left hospitals in crisis multiple times, South Central Public Health District tells me there will be a positive COVID legacy in the form of a more complete community health program.

“A sincere and urgent push to create more partnerships within our community, especially with other community providers,” said Bodily.

Change to healthcare systems doesn’t happen overnight. So the question remains: will COVID give us the chance?

“I think long term, we’ll get there. But if we have a big wave this fall, I think we’re going to be facing some of the same challenges we did last year,” said Dr. Hahn.

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