Crisis standards of care declared statewide in Idaho hospitals

<p><p>After a request from St. Luke’s Health System, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare declared crisis standards of care statewide on Thursday morning.</p></p><p><p>North and Central Idaho have been in crisis standards of care since Sept. 6 and remain in that status today.</p></p><p><p>The move comes as COVID cases and hospitalizations are at their highest point in the pandemic and show no signs of slowing down.</p></p><p><p>As of Tuesday, there were more than 600 Idaho residents hospitalized with the virus as federal contract workers are being dispatched to support understaffed hospitals. There were 173 Idaho COVID patients in ICUs statewide.</p></p><p><p>Last winter, hospitals statewide saw just over 400 COVID patients at once before the surge quelled.</p></p><p><p>“Our hospitals and health care systems need our help. The best way to end crisis standards of care is for more people to get vaccinated. It dramatically reduces your chances of having to go to the hospital if you do get sick from COVID-19. In addition, please wear a mask indoors in public and outdoors when it’s crowded to help slow the spread” said Department of Health and Welfare director Dave Jeppesen in a news release. “The situation is dire – we don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident.”</p></p><p><p>Crisis standards of care mean hospitals can operate outside of normal settings, with different staff ratios and in the worst case scenario, ration care in a way that will save the most lives. Not all hospitals will have to ration care under the declaration, as situations vary around the state and in different hospitals.</p></p><p><p>The Idaho Crisis Standards of Care Activation Advisory Committee met on Wednesday and determined that the influx of COVID patients had severely impacted all of the state’s hospitals to the point of asking the director to expand crisis standards statewide.</p></p><p><p><em>This story will be updated.</em></p></p>