IDHW: Crisis standards of care remain, vaccine is safe for pregnant women

Posted at 4:29 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 18:51:39-05

IDAHO — Idaho's COVID-19 numbers are headed in the right direction, but the decline over the last few weeks isn't enough to lift Crisis Standards of Care, Idaho health officials said in a media briefing Tuesday.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said Crisis Standards of Care can be lifted when the surge of COVID-19 cases no longer exceeds healthcare resources. He said some indicators of when the state reaches that point include when nontraditional spaces are no longer being used to treat patients, when patients who should be admitted are no longer being boarded in the ER. Other factors include when at least some postponed medical treatments and surgeries can continue, when the staffing to patient ratios return to normal and when the number of hospitalizations is declining.

Officials said the COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped to 10.2%, but is still double the target positivity rate of 5%.

Officials also addressed COVID-19 in pregnant women and misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine related to pregnant women.

Related: IDHW: First confirmed COVID-19 child death reported in Idaho

Saint Alphonsus OB/GYN Dr. Guillermo Guzman said the risk of severe infection from COVID-19 in pregnant women is higher.

"In a pregnant woman the risk of getting admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, the need for mechanical ventilation as well as the risk of death are all increased when compared to a nonpregnant individual," he said.

Dr. Christine Hahn, the state epidemiologist, said there were no COVID-19-related deaths in women who were pregnant within a year of their death, but there have been four so far among the same group in 2021.

Additionally, there were no stillbirths related to COVID-19 in 2020, but there have been two so far in 2021.

Related: COVID-19 numbers continue to decrease, CDH urges continued caution

Health officials on the call also said there is no evidence the vaccine can cause infertility and studies show it doesn't.

"Getting a vaccine can protect parents and prospective parents from severe illness from COVID and also can help protect babies," Hahn said.

Hahn said deaths among women in child-bearing years, which is considered ages 15-44 have increased from six in 2020 to 37 in 2021.