Idaho Rations Medical Care Statewide Amid COVID-19 Surge

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
September 17, 2021 Updated: September 17, 2021

A surge in cases of COVID-19 in the state of Idaho has prompted officials to activate a system for rationing health care statewide in hopes it will ease pressure on overwhelmed hospitals.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on Thursday morning announced the rollout of the system, titled Crisis Standards of Care, which officials say will allow hospitals to prioritize patients who are “otherwise healthy” and therefore more likely to recover from COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“Someone who is otherwise healthy and would recover more rapidly may get treated or have access to a ventilator before someone who is not likely to recover,” it said in a statement.

A day earlier, St. Luke’s Health System, the state’s largest hospital network, had urged Idaho health leaders to allow “crisis standards of care,” citing the state’s strained medical resources as CCP virus cases spike.

That would mean that patients most likely to survive will be prioritized for medical resources that are scarce, such as intensive care unit (ICU) beds.

“The situation is dire—we don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident,” Idaho Department of Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said in a statement.

Jeppesen urged residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to wear face masks in crowded outdoor settings and indoors.

“Our hospitals and healthcare systems need our help. The best way to end crisis standards of care is for more people to get vaccinated. It dramatically reduces your chances of having to go to the hospital if you do get sick from COVID-19,” he added.

Roughly 40 percent of Idaho residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, making it one of the least vaccinated states nationwide.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations are on the rise with 678 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, compared to approximately 170 at the beginning of August.

The system had been rolled out earlier in northern parts of Idaho, but Thursday’s move comes as the impact of the spike is being felt statewide.

Public health officials said that some hospitals may not need to ration health care resources and that it will be up to each hospital to decide how to implement the system.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.