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One month into crisis standards of care, North Idaho hospitals still see record COVID-19 patients

A nurse dressed in PPE checks a monitor in a hospital room.
Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare

It’s been a month since North Idaho entered crisis standards of care ahead of the rest of the state and COVID-19 hospitalizations are still hitting new highs.

That day, Sept. 7, Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene was caring for 108 COVID patients, 39 of them needing critical care.

On Tuesday, about a month later, the total COVID census was a record-high 145; four of the patients were children. Forty-two patients needed critical care.

“We remained at very high daily average census numbers," Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said about statewide numbers during a media briefing Tuesday. "There was a record 759 COVID-19 patients, on average, in the hospital last week.”

Of COVID-19 cases recorded in Idaho since mid-May, 89.1% have been among unvaccinated people, according to IDHW. For hospitalizations in the past six month, 90.3% have been unvaccinated, and 88% of people who died due to COVID were not fully vaccinated.

A new data point on the state's data dashboard shows 14 pediatric patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 one day last week, the highest during the pandemic so far.

Other indicators — ICU admissions and ventilators in use — were down slightly, Jeppesen said. But it’s too early to know if this means a peak or a plateau.

Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Turner said numbers are looking better in the southern U.S. states where the Delta variant caused a surge earlier than in Idaho.

“If we follow sort of the same pattern over time, we could start seeing a decrease in cases in the next two to three weeks," she said.

But Turner said that’s a hope, not a prediction, based on Idaho's current data.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen 

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio

As the south-central Idaho reporter, I cover the Magic and Wood River valleys. I also enjoy writing about issues related to health and the environment.