Idaho hospitals are so overwhelmed with the surge in coronavirus cases that doctors and nurses have to contact dozens of regional hospitals across the West in hopes of finding places to transfer individual critical patients.
The situation has grown so bad that the Idaho Department of Health and Wellness announced Thursday that the entire state is in a hospital resource crisis, permitting medical facilities to ration health care and triage patients.
Kootenai Health, a hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has already converted a conference room into an overflow Covid unit, started paying traveling nurses higher rates and brought in a military medical unit. The hospital received permission from the state to begin rationing care last week. That’s all in response to the Covid surge that in recent weeks has taken over much of Idaho — a state with one of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates.