Idaho COVID-19 hospitalization data goes dark under Trump directive, at least for now

Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 18:34:11-04

This article was written by Audrey Dutton with the Idaho Statesman.

The Trump administration issued a directive that will make it hard for Idaho to keep track of how many COVID-19 patients are hospitalized around the state and how many hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators are available.

“This new directive was issued abruptly and presents some significant challenges for Idaho to continue to monitor the number of hospitalizations in the state,” Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spokesperson Niki Forbing-Orr said.

Health and Welfare’s most recent data showed 153 hospitalized in Idaho with COVID-19 on July 13.

“We’re in the process of reviewing the details of the new process to determine exactly how it will impact our ability to view and report the information on for the public to view,” she said, “but it will certainly have a short-term impact on our awareness of the number of people in hospitals, in the ICU and on ventilators.”

Health and Welfare, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both were publishing daily counts of Idaho hospital patients with known or suspected COVID-19. Those numbers ranged from lows in the teens and 20s in May, to record highs in the mid-100s in the past week.