Hospital leaders say Covid-19 continues to strain system

St. Lukes
Posted at 11:10 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-05 01:12:48-05

IDAHO — On Friday, the Central District Health board decided not to vote on a possible public health order, stating they want to make thoughtful revisions and get further feedback from the public before revisiting it on Tuesday.

During the meeting, two health system leaders said the situation is not getting any better.

"We are continuing to experience well over 100 call-outs per day of clinical staff, which perspective that's more than twice normal," said James Souza, Chief Medical Officer with St. Luke's Health System. "So we are keeping our neck at the waterline. but I want you to know how fast we are treading water."

Steven Nemerson, a Chief Clinical Officer with St. Alphonsus Health System, said months of pandemic workloads haven't been going well for health care employees.

"Our staff is beginning to fall to the side because they exhausted their endurance," Nemerson said.

Souza explained to CDH board members they are confronting new situations.

"In the past week, we boarded patients in our emergency department for extended periods of time; that's a commonplace thing in big inner-city hospitals. We've never done that. We open a new intensive care unit; we extended our nursing ratios," Souza said.

There was no vote made on the proposed public health order, and it will be pushed back next Tuesday after receiving several comments from the public.

"I think there are some changes that are warranted, and my recommendation to allow us some time to give that back out to the public, which we should be able to do by tomorrow morning," said Russ Duke, Central District Health Director.

The revised draft order is now available and states.

  • Gatherings of 10 or more people, both public and private, are hereby prohibited.
  • Extracurricular activities including athletics, practices, matches, performances and games may continue.
  • A face covering must fit close to your face without large side-gaps that covers the nose and mouth.
  • Visits to long-term care facilities are allowed based on following parameters.

You can submit written comments for the draft by clicking on this link.