Idaho hospitals will get staffing boost to avoid crisis standards of care

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Idaho Gov. Brad Little directed up to 370 new medical personnel to assist hospitals during the COVID-19 surge in an effort to avoid activating crisis standards of care, according to an Aug. 31 news release

The additional staff will help hospitals overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients and grappling with more people in intensive care units.

"On a daily call with hospitals this 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," Mr. Little said in the news release. "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."

Short-staffed Idaho hospitals will receive assistance from up to 150 National Guard members, who will perform logistical support such as screenings, lab work and other duties, according to the governor's office. Two-hundred contract medical and administrative workers will also be available. Additionally, a 20-person Department of Defense medical response team will be deployed to healthcare facilities in North Idaho.

While adding hundreds of new medical personnel is among the state's efforts to address the COVID-19 surge, the real solution is increasing the vaccination rate, said Mr. Little.

As of 6 a.m. EDT Aug. 30, a total of 699,897 people in Idaho had been fully vaccinated, or 39.16 percent of the state's population, according to the CDC's COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration data tracker

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