Sumary of In COVID-slammed Idaho, schools risk buckling hospitals:
- BOISE, Idaho (AP) — When Idaho public health officials announced this week that northern hospitals were so crowded with coronavirus patients that they would be allowed to ration health care, roughly 11,000 kids in Coeur d’Alene were packing lunches, climbing on buses or grabbing backpacks for their first day of school.
- Very few of them — maybe 2% or 3%, based on one district spokesman’s estimate — were wearing masks.
- Kootenai Health, the hospital at the epicenter of the region’s COVID-19 health care crisis, is just a 10-minute walk from the Coeur d’Alene School District’s headquarters.
- It has 200 beds for medical or surgical patients, but on Wednesday — the second day of school — Kootenai Health’s doctors and nurses were caring for 218 medical and surgical patients, aided by military doctors and nurses called in to help with the surge.
- On Thursday — the third day of school — the hospital tallied 109 COVID-19 patients, including 37 requiring critical care.
- Meanwhile, Idaho’s vaccination rates remain among the lowest in the U.S., and coronavirus cases have grown by 44% in the last two weeks as the highly contagious delta variant burns through the population.
- “We’re at risk of getting more patients,” Dr. Robert Scoggins, Kootenai Health’s chief of staff, said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
- “There’s no mitigation in place in our school systems at this point, and I’m concerned about what’s going to happen .