Today in Idaho hospitals and COVID-19 (updated 11/30): Patients, ERs, ICUs

Get daily updates on Idaho hospital capacity, pediatric and adult COVID-19 hospitalizations

By: - November 30, 2021 1:42 pm
A microscopic image of human patient cells infected by the SARS-CoV2 virus.

This colorized scanning electron micrograph image shows a COVID-19 patient’s cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (purple). (Courtesy of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

The number of adults with COVID-19 in Idaho’s intensive care units remains on a downward trajectory, falling into the 80s and 90s each day of the past week. Still, the coronavirus disease currently takes up more than 10% of all hospital beds in Idaho, and more than 30% of staffed adult ICU beds, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

Total COVID-19 patient numbers seem to have stalled their decline, holding steady at more than 300 adults and children in Idaho hospital beds each day.

The week of Thanksgiving, Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen deactivated crisis standards of care for hospitals statewide, except for those in the hard-hit Panhandle region. Most hospitals in Idaho remained stretched thin, but were no longer in an impossible crisis.

Major health care providers such as St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus health systems are now working through a backlog of surgeries, procedures and medical treatments they had to put on hold during the COVID-19 surge.

Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene still has more ICU patients than it could handle under normal staffing levels. More than half of those patients have COVID-19, on average, according to new federal data.

Meanwhile, influenza season has reached the Gem State. Hospitals this week reported a daily average of two patients hospitalized with the flu, according to federal data.

Idaho hospitals report no patients admitted with simultaneous COVID-19 and flu infections, and influenza patients aren’t requiring ICU care, the data show.

Health leaders pleaded with Idahoans to follow public health recommendations, and to get vaccinated. While the crisis declaration is no longer needed for every corner of the state, Idaho is not out of the woods, they said.

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Idaho continues to have among the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But each day, hundreds of people in the state receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to state vaccination data.

At least 16,853 (636 added since yesterday) children between ages 5 and 11 have received their first dose, state data show.

“It’s not too late to get the vaccine,” Idaho Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch told the Sun in a recent interview.

Federal data show the following, based on reports from hospitals for Monday, Nov. 29. Several Idaho hospitals were behind on data reporting during the week of Thanksgiving, so their numbers may be revised. (See “Notes” below for additional information about the data.) For quick visual reference, numbers in black are unchanged from the previous day, numbers in red are worsened, and numbers in green are improved.

  • People hospitalized with COVID-19: 309 (previous day: 319) which is 15.5% (previous day: 14.1%) of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • Adults in the ICU with COVID-19: 89 (previous day: 94)
  • Children hospitalized with COVID-19: 6 (previous day: 6)
  • Patients newly admitted to the hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 21 (previous day: 32)
  • Rolling 7-day average of new COVID-19 admissions each day, by age:
    Children: 1 (previous day’s rolling average: 1)
    Age 18-19: 0 (previous: 0)
    20s: 2 (previous: 2)
    30s: 3 (previous: 3)
    40s: 5 (previous: 5)
    50s: 4 (previous: 5)
    60s: 5 (previous: 5)
    70s: 8 (previous: 5)
    80+: 6 (previous: 7)
    age unknown: 1 (previous: 0)
  • People who died in Idaho hospitals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 4 (previous day: 5)
  • Staffed adult ICU beds that were still available statewide, according to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare data: 38 (previous day: 31)

Note: These numbers may differ from those reported by the state, local public health districts or individual hospitals. There are multiple reasons for this: Some agencies use different methods and data sources. Hospital census always fluctuates as patients are admitted, discharged, moved to and from the ICU, and remain hospitalized for ongoing care. And some Idaho hospitals may be behind on reporting through the federal portal from which the Sun gets its data, which can result in revisions to the previous one to three days’ totals. (The federal data use the most recent numbers reported by each hospital in the previous four-day period. The rationale is to provide numbers that are as accurate as possible; for example, it reduces the risk that hospitalizations appear to plummet when a large hospital misses a day of reporting.) Where the Sun shows a “previous day” count, that is the number reported the previous day, regardless of whether it was revised up or down since then.

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The Sun will share daily updates on the situation in Idaho hospitals. See below for detailed tables and charts. Questions or comments? Reach reporter Audrey Dutton at [email protected].

You can also visit the Idaho Division of Public Health’s dashboard to see other metrics on the Idaho COVID-19 situation.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Idaho, ICU capacity, and adults and kids in the hospital

Idaho hospital COVID-19 data

Gritman Medical Center: gritman.org/coronavirus
Kootenai Health: kh.org/covid-19
Saint Alphonsus Health System: saintalphonsus.org/coronavirus
St. Joseph Regional Medical Center: sjrmc.org/covid-19-updates
St. Luke’s Health System: stlukesonline.org/covid19

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Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton, senior investigative reporter, joined the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Dutton hails from Twin Falls. She attended college at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, data visualization and more.

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