As Idaho hospitals grapple with COVID-19 attack, Governor Brad Little has called 220 health workers available through a federal pool and 150 members of the State National Guard to help support the facilities medical, reported The Associated Press.
Idaho, which struggles to convince its residents to get vaccinated, recorded about 1,000 new cases a day last week. Available intensive care unit beds were well below 100 until Tuesday, when the Republican governor said there were only four left statewide.
In a remote press conference, Little called his decision a last-resort effort before he was, for the first time, forced to activate a state-wide crisis triage that would put the health professionals able to decide who lives and who dies.
“We are dangerously close to activating statewide crisis care standards – a historic milestone that means Idahoans in need of health care may receive a lower standard of care or may be completely. refused, ”Little said.
For more Associated Press reporting, see below.
The 220 workers through federal programs include 200 medical and administrative workers available to Idaho through contract with the US General Services Administration.
The US Department of Defense is sending a 20-person medical response team to northern Idaho, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the state and help is most needed. Military medical personnel include nurses, respiratory therapists and physicians.
This is the second time Little has mobilized the Idaho National Guard to help deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases, the latter occurring about two months after the end of the first deployment.
The guards will once again support the short-staffed medical facilities and provide logistical support such as screenings and laboratory work.
Johns Hopkins University reports that about one in four people who tested for COVID-19 in Idaho in the past month have been positive. Healthcare professionals generally cite the more readily prevalent Delta variant as the cause of the flare-up, especially in pockets with unvaccinated residents.
Little said on Monday he visited a nearly full intensive care unit in Boise.
“What I saw was heartbreaking,” he said. “Of the COVID-positive patients, not all were vaccinated. Some were young, two were middle-aged, two patients were pregnant. I was told that the average age of the patients was 43. struggling to breathe, and most only breathed with a machine. “
Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only about half of people aged 12 and over fully vaccinated. Vaccinations in August resumed, with an estimated 730,000 Idaho residents now fully vaccinated.
Little, as he has done for months, urged unvaccinated Idaho residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others in their communities. He said it would also alleviate some of the pressure on exhausted healthcare workers.
“This is our ticket out of the pandemic,” he said.
Idaho has recorded more than 220,000 cases of COVID-19 and 2,331 deaths, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
In mid-August, the governor of Oregon said she would send up to 1,500 National Guard troops to state hospitals to help healthcare workers pushed to the brink by a wave of cases of COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant.
Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, said members of the guard would play roles such as material and equipment runners at the most affected hospitals and help with COVID-19 testing, among others.