Idaho enacts crisis hospital care standards amid COVID surge

Coronavirus Updates

A R.N. holds the hand of a COVID-19 patient in the Medical Intensive care unit (MICU) at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. More then half of the patients in the ICU are COVID-19 positive, none of which are vaccinated. (AP Photo/Kyle Green)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho public health leaders on Tuesday activated “crisis standards of care” for the state’s northern hospitals because there are more coronavirus patients than the institutions can handle.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare made the announcement, warning residents that they may not be able to get the care they normally expect if they need to be hospitalized.

The agency cited “a severe shortage of staffing and available beds in the northern area of the state caused by a massive increase in patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization.”

The designation includes 10 hospitals and healthcare systems in the Idaho panhandle and in north-central Idaho.

The move allows hospitals to allot scarce resources like intensive care unit rooms to patients most likely to survive.

Other patients will still receive care, but they may be placed in classrooms or conference rooms rather than traditional hospital rooms or go without some life-saving medical equipment.

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