Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to set records in Idaho

<p><p>COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to set record highs, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said. </p></p><p><p>Jeppesen, speaking at a weekly COVID-19 media briefing Tuesday, said crisis standards of care remain in effect statewide as the number of coronavirus patients continues to exceed available health care resources.</p></p><p><p>He said the number of hospitalized patients averaged 757 last week and the number of intensive care unit patients averaged 202 – both records.</p></p><p><p>“We expect these numbers to continue to increase,” Jeppesen said. “We do not see where this is going to turn around just yet.”</p></p><p><p>Jeppesen said there are 140 long-term care centers with people who have COVID-19, which is an increase from 14 care centers in early July.</p></p><p><p>Dr. Kathryn Turner, deputy state epidemiologist, said weekly case counts in children are increasing faster than counts in adults.</p></p><p><p>“In fact, infections among children have reached record levels in the past few weeks,” Turner said.</p></p><p><p>She said 20% of all new cases reported in Idaho are children, which Turner said is much higher than this time last year.</p></p><p><p>In mid-December, Idaho peaked at just over 1,100 cases among children in one week. The number of infected children has recently skyrocketed, Turner said.</p></p><p><p>She said over 1,300 cases among children were reported during the last week of August. Nearly 1,700 cases were reported among children last week.</p></p><p><p>The increase in infections in children has led to a spike in pediatric hospitalizations.</p></p><p><p>Turner said over 200 Idaho children have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Thirty-one Idaho children have developed a post-infection complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in which organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain, become inflamed.</p></p><p><p>Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator for the Idaho Division of Public Health, fought back tears as she said she has read the names of every single person who has died from COVID-19 in Idaho. That number is at 2,830 as of Tuesday.</p></p><p><p>She said it is important to honor the dead by reading their names and acknowledging them as humans, not as data points.</p></p><p><p>She said the ages of the departed are getting younger and are predominantly unvaccinated.</p></p><p><p>“I worry every single day that we have not done enough as a society to protect our loved ones from needless suffering and we have let a narrative prevail that does not support vaccines and public health mitigation measures,” Shaw-Tulloch said.</p></p><p><p>Officials at Tuesday’s media briefing said people should continue to follow COVID-19 mitigation measures, which include getting vaccinated, wearing face coverings, staying home when ill, physical distancing and washing hands frequently.</p></p><p><h3>Here’s a look at local numbers:</h3></p><p><p>The Spokane Regional Health District reported 340 new cases and eight additional deaths due to COVID-19.</p></p><p><p>There have been 844 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County residents. Last week, there were 18 deaths reported in county residents.</p></p><p><p>There are 171 people hospitalized with the virus in Spokane hospitals.</p></p><p><p>The Panhandle Health District confirmed 101 new COVID-19 cases and no additional deaths on Tuesday.</p></p><p><p>There are 119 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.</p></p>