All but North Idaho moved from crisis standards of care

Nov 22, 2021

Hospitalization numbers in the Panhandle Health District, which includes Kootenai, Bonner, Shoshone, Boundary and Benewah counties.
Credit Panhandle Health District

All of Idaho has been moved out of the crisis standard of care designation, except the Panhandle, where case counts and hospitalizations are still elevated.

North Idaho has been in a crisis standard of care since the beginning of September. The entire state was put under the designation in mid September.

Despite a drop in new Covid cases in other parts of the state, North Idaho hospitals are dealing with high patient loads. Idaho Health Department Director Dave Jeppesen the region’s outlook is improving, but slowly.

“The number of cases is declining and the number of patients in the hospital is declining,” he said. “If that trend continues, sometime in the near future that whenever that may be, we’ll reach a point where the demand for healthcare resources is below the supply of healthcare resources, and we can move out of crisis standards of care.”

Hospitals in the other parts of the state say their COVID numbers are still challenging, but have dropped to the point they can resume cancer treatments and surgeries.

Dr. Christine Hahn, the state’s epidemiologist, says she’s concerned about a potential spike in cases going into the holiday, and says counties could see a turn.

“We’re very encouraged by the decreasing numbers in our state, but we realize we’re not where we need to be,” she said. “We want to see numbers decrease, but we’re very concerned going into the holiday season that we’re set up for a reversal of the good things that have been happening lately.

Health officials are asking all Idaho residents to get booster shots if they are already vaccinated, and get their first shot if they are not.