The state's top health leaders are warning that activating Crisis Standards of Care at Treasure Valley hospitals is imminent.
Hospitalizations in Southwest, Central and South Central health districts, which include the Treasure Valley and Magic Valley are reaching a critical point.
Nearly half of Idaho's population ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated and over a million total doses have been administered. With hospitals strained across the state, health officials hope vaccination rates increase over the next few weeks.
“Without a change in direction, Crisis Standards of Care are imminent for all three of those health districts,” Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said.
Health officials say the statewide COVID-19 metrics are still headed in the wrong direction, pushing the state closer to rationing care.
“Crisis Standards of Care affect all of us. Not just COVID patients. There are already many patients who had to delay surgeries or other appointments and during Crisis Standards of Care, tough decisions are made about how to allocate scarce medical resources," Jeppesen said.
According to State Deputy Epidemiologist, Kathryn Turner, a much younger population is losing their lives to COVID-19 this year.
In 2020, more than half of COVID-19 deaths in Idaho were among those 80 and older. This year over half is between ages 50-79.
Also, a concern among health experts is that more children are testing positive.
“Last week, we had 630 cases identified among teens age, 13-17 years of age. That represents a record in Idaho for the entire pandemic,” Turner said.
“The hospitals have done everything they can to manage the number of patients they are receiving and have gotten very creative about doing that in ways that don't compromise care allow for the incredible number of cases coming in. But the reality is, without a course change, we will be entering crisis standards of care soon,” Jeppesen said.
COVID-19 cases are starting to mirror what we saw winter of 2020 with consecutive days of more than 1,000 positive cases in a single day across the state.
According to the Department of Health and Welfare as of September 10th, the three counties with the highest COVID-19 infection rates are Lewis County, Clearwater County and Washington County.
On September 14th, the Department of Health and Welfare held its weekly media briefing to provide updates for the community on COVID-19. You can watch here.