Kootenai Health near capacity with COVID surge
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — The surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in North Idaho is filling up Kootenai Health and they are nearing capacity.
In just 21 days, Kootenai Health went from 29 COVID-19 patients with11 of them requiring critical care, to 85 patients with 36 in critical care. Last winter, it took 58 days days for the surge to climb from 28 patients to 87, they said.
“Data from our own community supports the fact that the COVID-19 delta variant is replicating and spreading much faster than the original COVID-19 alpha variant,” Kootenai Health said. “At the hospital, we are seeing that the delta variant is also leading to more severe illness in a younger population, many of which have few if any risk factors for hospitalization.”
They said patients between the ages of 18 and 60 now make up around 50 percent of those hospitalized for COVID, compared to 20 percent during the winter surge.
“It is not our intent to frighten, but rather to inform our community of what lies ahead if the current trajectory continues,” Kootenai Health said.
At this time, they have decided to cancel elective surgeries. They also no longer have the capacity to receive patients from other regional hospitals.
Kootenai Health said hospital leaders and physicians are concerned they will not have the space, equipment and staffing to provide care for everyone who needs it. This includes COVID patients and those who require care for health problems such as heart attacks and injuries from car accidents.
“Kootenai Health and its medical staff have explored every possible option to ensure care is available for everyone who needs it,” they said. “We are now imploring our community to add their efforts to ours. We are asking every individual and family to do their part to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19.”
They are encouraging people to get vaccinated for COVID, wear a mask out in public, try to avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.
“Idahoans have always valued freedom and independence. We also recognize the value of working together as a community to take care of our own,” Kootenai Health said. “Never were those qualities needed more than now. If we want continued access to health care and businesses, and for schools to remain open, every one of us must individually do our part to collectively defeat COVID-19.”
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