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Crisis Standards Of Care 'Imminent' For Treasure Valley, Magic Valley

A chart created by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare shows COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions, as well as the number of ventilators in use, continue to increase.
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
A chart created by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare shows COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions, as well as the number of ventilators in use, continue to increase.

The COVID-19 picture in Idaho has only gotten worse since North Idaho entered crisis standards of care last week, and the crisis designation is "imminent" for most of southern Idaho.

“The numbers continue to increase, they continue to increase at an alarmingly fast rate and we do not see a peak in sight," said Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen during a weekly media briefing Tuesday.

More COVID-19 patients continue to need hospitalization and ICU care and most of them are unvaccinated.

At hospitals in the state's largest health system, St. Luke's, unvaccinated people make up between 90% and 96% of all COVID patients. For ICU patients, it's 98%, and more than four-fifths of patients in St. Luke's ICU beds have COVID-19.

Jeppesen said the continued increases mean the Treasure Valley and the Magic Valley are close to rationing care too.

“Without a change in direction, crisis standards of care are imminent for all three of those health districts," he said, referring to Southwest District Health, Central District Health and South Central Public Health District.

When North Idaho entered crisis standards of care, health leaders said they considered enacting the policy statewide.

Dr. David Pate, the former president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System and member of the Idaho Coronavirus Task Force, told Boise State Public Radio that other areas of the state were likely close behind.

"In practicality, if one region goes to crisis standards of care, it will not be long before another does," he said.

The state is also concerned about rising cases in teens; 13 through 17-year-olds are now testing positive at the highest rate out of all age groups.

Sept 14 - COVID-19 Cases Among Teens 13-17.jpg
A chart created by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare shows COVID-19 cases are rising among teenagers.

A quarter of 12-15-year-olds in Idaho are fully vaccinated; for 16-17-year-olds, the rate is 32%.

Overall, since the start of the year, the age of people dying from COVID-19 in Idaho has declined compared to 2020, when the majority of deaths were people 80 years or older. Now, people between the ages of 50 and 79 represent the largest share of deaths.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

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