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Hospital staff in Idaho exhausted from COVID-19 surge

emergency hospital sign
Posted at 4:23 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 18:23:45-04

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has pushed Idaho hospitals to the breaking point and health leaders say their employees are exhausted.

“It's time to expect that things are going to be different when need healthcare for the short-term foreseeable future. It's not going to be as quick and there's going to be prioritization based on how quick you are,” Chief Clinical Officer, Saint Alphonsus Health System Dr. Steven Nemerson.

Back in June, Saint Alphonsus' testing positivity rate was below 5% but officials say that's not the case anymore.

“Because of people's behavior like a vaccination and because of socialization, lack of wearing masks, our current testing positivity rate in Saint Alphonsus is 22%,” Nemerson said.

St. Luke's and West Valley are seeing much of the same with capacity strained. Almost half of the adult patients in the St. Luke’s system are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to officials.

“That's impossible for us to provide the other types of care we normally would,” Chief Medical Officer, St. Luke’s Health System for Boise, Elmore, McCall Dr. Frank Johnson said.

Health care workers are doing what they can while facing another surge.

“I can't help but get emotional when I talk about this right now and I apologize for that," Johnson said. "We're putting people in positions they wouldn’t ordinarily do but they are stepping forward with a tremendous commitment to the care of our patients."

“We are putting our caregivers in a position of caring for more patients than they normally would,” Nemerson said.

“I hope that we can get through this am terrified that if it continues to rise in the way that it's rising, then we won’t be able to help,” Chief Medical Officer of West Valley Medical Center Dr. Richard Augustus said.