Health organizations hold virtual meeting to discuss COVID-19 in Idaho

Coronavirus-confirmed healthcare workers can return to work without being testing negative
Posted at 4:42 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 18:51:09-04

IDAHO — Leaders from southwest Idaho's largest healthcare organizations held a virtual joint press conference this morning to discuss COVID-19's current impact on the state.

St. Lukes, St. Alphonsus, and other health officials want to urge Idahoans to take immediate action against the further spread of COVID-19.

"We are seeing an alarming increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Idaho," President and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, Chris Roth says.

According to St. Luke's health officials, nearly half of the state's COVID-19 cases have occurred from just the last two weeks.
Although hospitals are not at capacity, the number of patients they are seeing is increasing rapidly.

"We know that there's a 2 to 3 week lag following the presentation of symptoms to potential hospitalizations of those who need it," Roth says.

Following the death of one of St. Luke's nurse practitioners, Samantha Hickey, who died of complications of COVID-19, health officials urge the public to think of anyone you know who works in the health care system, and remember they are at a higher risk.

"We can have as many beds and as many supplies, but the limited resources of our human capital, which is the most important in this pandemic, are beginning to get sick because of community spread."

Chief Clinical Officer for St. Alphonsus, Steven Nemerson, says if we keep seeing the same trend in increased COVID-19 cases, we could see hospitalizations rapidly grow by September.

"By Labor Day, we would expect as much as 50% of our total inpatient volume across all of St. Alphonsus health system will be consumed by patients that have coronavirus," Nemerson says.

They are also asking the public to follow the three W's: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.

If you missed the press conference and would like to watch it, head to our Facebook page for the full meeting.