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Idaho Declares Crisis Standard Of Care Statewide As Covid-19 Cases Soar

Kootenai Health

The entire state of Idaho is now in a crisis standard of care due to a massive increase in COVID-19 cases.

The declaration came after a request from St. Luke’s Healthcare System in Boise. The hospital had surpassed its capacity and delayed most non-life-threatening procedures – including some cancer treatments, says Dr. Jim Souza, the chief physician at St. Luke’s.

“The reason we made this case is because the net is gone, the people will fall from the wire. We’re not able to provide a conventional care standard,” Souza said.

In a briefing today, Chris Roth, the CEO of St. Luke’s, said the system was overwhelmed.

“We will do and are doing everything possible to make sure we’re providing safe and effective care, but the standard of care is being eroded,” Roth said.

A crisis standard of care means that hospitals are allowed to ration lifesaving care to try and save as many lives as possible. Roth said the system is getting help with staffing from the federal government, but said it won’t be enough to treat the surge of unvaccinated patients if the trend continues.

In a release Thursday, Idaho Department of Health Director David Jeppesen said Idaho hospitals do not have enough resources to handle their normal workload, and the influx of COVID-19 patients.

“The situation is dire – we don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident," Jeppesen said.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.