Editorial

Taking steps to help hospitals overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients

Friday, September 10, 2021

September 1, 2021

On a daily call with hospitals Tuesday morning, we heard there are only FOUR adult ICU beds available in the entire state, out of close to 400. Where hospitals have converted other spaces to be used as contingency ICU beds, those are filling up too.

We are dangerously close to activating statewide crisis standards of care a historic step that means Idahoans in need of healthcare could receive a lesser standard of care or may be turned away altogether. In essence, someone would have to decide who can be treated and who cannot. This affects all of us, not just patients with COVID-19.

A last-ditch effort to avoid the first-ever activation of statewide crisis standards of care includes:

Adding up to 370 additional personnel to assist hospitals with the surge

Opening three monoclonal antibody treatment centers across the state

Directing new funds to help Idaho hospitals attract and retain the medical staff they need as they compete with healthcare systems across the nation for workers

Waiving the temporary licensing fees for retired or inactive nurses so they can activate their licenses and reenter the workforce

We need more Idahoans to choose to receive the vaccine. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to minimize the spread of the disease to the vulnerable. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is also the most effective way to minimize your own risk of hospitalization from the disease. In addition, the new COVID-19 antibody treatment centers should help preserve bed capacity by preventing hospitalization for some people who contract the disease.

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