BOISE, Idaho — Boise Mayor Lauren McLean held a media briefing with the three largest health care systems in the Treasure Valley to see where they stand in this ongoing fight against the pandemic. They collectively said the state is in the fourth surge of COVID-19 and according to state health officials cases have steadily increased over the last month.
Idaho health care systems were already seeing unprecedented summer volumes which they credit to the relaxation of protective standards.
“We are kind of entering the class 5 rapids of this pandemic,” St. Luke’s Health System Chief Physician Executive Dr. Jim Souza said.
I'm grateful to leaders from @SaintAlsHealth, @StLukesHealth and @primaryhealth for joining me today. The full video from today's briefing is available here: https://t.co/sjf6OAcgt5 https://t.co/uSr99Ky8YE— Mayor McLean (@boisemayor) August 4, 2021
On Tuesday, over 600 new cases were reported in the state. Vaccine rates are seeing an increase as well, but the health care systems say it’s not enough yet.
St. Luke's says the number of COVID-19 patients they have in their system has doubled in two weeks. About 19 patients are in critical care and more than 95% are unvaccinated.
“79 patients might not sound like a lot, but please recognize what that means,” Souza said. It means that 15% to 20% of our entire adult bed capacity is occupied by one diagnosis that is growing rapidly.”
In Ada County, the case rate which is based on a 7-day average per 100,000 is about 20 - which is higher than just a few weeks ago
“We were down around the 4 to 6 range back in June. So again, all of those numbers are going in the wrong direction and comparable to what we saw in January and December,” Primary Health CEO Dr. David Peterman said.
#COVID19 test positivity rates at @SaintAlsHealth have gone from 4 to 17% in the past few weeks, said Dr. Patrice Burgess in a public forum held by @boisemayor. She said about 6% of all patients in the health system are now COVID patients, up from less than 1%. #GetVaccinated pic.twitter.com/UXiY9EmLOG— Saint Alphonsus (@SaintAlsHealth) August 4, 2021
“We were so close to having the community spread drop into a more safe range where we could really legitimately relax more precautions and that has changed in the last 4 weeks,” Saint Alphonsus Medical Group Executive Medical Director Dr. Patrice Burgess said.
At the start of the vaccine rollout, there simply weren’t enough doses for everyone but now doses are readily available.
“We do have vaccine supply. In the beginning, I chaired the governor's task force and we had to figure out who got to go first and that was a horrible place to be. Now, we are in the fortunate position of really having a vaccine for anybody that wants one and that’s a really wonderful thing because we didn’t have that at the beginning,” Burgess said.
You can watch the full media briefing below: