The entire state of Idaho is now under crisis standards of care

BOISE, Idaho — Crisis Standards of Care have been activated for hospitals across the entire state of Idaho.

This is a direct result of the massive increase of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization.

The influx of COVID patients is putting a strain on the state’s hospital system and exhausting all existing resources.

CSC was activated in North Idaho earlier this month, but the activation Thursday expands to the rest of the state.

“Our hospitals and healthcare systems need our help. The best way to end Crisis Standards of Care is for more people to get vaccinated,” said Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppessen. “The situation is dire – we don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are here for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident.”

On Thursday, several Idaho hospital leaders addressed the situation going on inside their hospitals with COVID-19.

They say they’re exhausted and this is a point they did not want to reach. The president and CEO of the Idaho Hospital Association said hospitals have been trying to avoid CSC.

Dr. Steven Nemerson, the Chief Medical Officer for Saint Alphonsus Health System says hospitals have been doing a good job at projecting what will happen.

“All these things tell us – while it’s bad today, it’s going to get much worse,” Nemerson said. “We can expect this to continue for at least the next two weeks, and I am scared. I’m scared for all of us”

Under CSC, people needing help from the hospital may experience care that is different from what they expect; a bed may not be available to them or they may have to be moved to a different hospital. They could also get help in hallways or classrooms rather than a regular hospital room. Sometimes, doctors and nurses may not be able to get to a patient fast enough.

Currently, the majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Health advisors stressed that the best way to move out of CSC is to have more Idahoans get vaccinated.

“This pandemic is relentless. We’re all tired, we’re all exhausted. Sadly, instead of fighting this pandemic together, we seem to be fighting each other,” said Chris Roth, the president and CEO of St. Luke’s. “If we’re going to turn the tide, we have to lower the demand.”

Large hospitals in Idaho aren’t the only ones who are feeling the surge. Smaller, rural places like Minidoka Memorial in south-central Idaho are also stretched thin.

Tom Murphy, the CEO of Minidoka Memorial, said it could get close to having to use cots in cafeteria areas to help patients. He says doing the right thing – vaccinations, masks, social distancing – and getting the right information and will help them.

“Let’s trust our local health care providers. Let’s trust our physicians that we’ve known for years. Let’s trust our local hospitals that’ve been taking care of us for years,” Murphy continued. “Let’s trust our health officials that really are vetting some of the information that’s out there, providing good truthful information to everybody.”

Idaho has among the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

RELATED: ‘A last resort’: Crisis standards of care activated in North Idaho as region struggles to keep up with COVID surge

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