Today in Idaho hospitals and COVID-19 (updated 2/15): Patients, ERs, ICUs

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

By: - February 15, 2022 9:29 pm
Photo of Dr. Andrew Southard

Dr. Andrew Southard describes in September 2021 how the Saint Alphonsus emergency room routinely is overwhelmed with patients sick from COVID-19, in addition to the usual volume they see daily. (Tim Floyd for the Idaho Capital Sun)

Editor’s note: The Idaho Capital Sun published this daily update on Idaho hospitals from Aug. 26 through Dec. 20, 2021; and Jan. 24 through Feb. 15, 2022, when Idaho once again fully emerged from crisis standards of care.

Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen on Tuesday announced that the southwestern and south-central regions of the state are no longer critically overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and a shortage of staff and blood supplies.

At the request of Saint Alphonsus Health System, the director had issued a third crisis standards declaration on Jan. 24, applying it to only those regions of the state. He said he was concerned that the declaration might have to expand statewide, but the omicron-fueled surge of COVID-19 is now receding as fast as it rose.

Idaho’s coronavirus hospitalizations are trending in the right direction, with fewer people hospitalized and newly admitted each day.

However, many Idahoans are still getting sick enough to need intensive care. Several days in the past week, more than 40% of ICU patients had COVID-19. More than 110 people statewide are in ICUs with COVID-19 on an average day, according to Idaho Capital Sun analysis of hospital data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Statewide, ICU beds are more than 85% full. When ICUs are too full, it becomes harder for patients who need critical care to receive it in a timely fashion.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Jan. 31 said the state had requested more than 500 health care personnel through a federal contractor, to help respond to the surge. Officials with the Idaho Office of Emergency Management told the Idaho Capital Sun on Tuesday that most of those personnel have been assigned to facilities and will deploy within days.

People continue to go to the emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Idahoans who are fully vaccinated and have received their COVID-19 booster shot are 11 times less likely to be hospitalized for the coronavirus disease, according to omicron-era data provided by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Even without a booster shot, Idahoans who completed their 1-dose or 2-dose COVID-19 vaccine series reduced their risk of hospitalization four-fold, the data show.

Most patients in the hospital with COVID-19, particularly those who need intensive care, are unvaccinated, according to Saint Alphonsus Health System officials and data from St. Luke’s Health System.

It's not too late to get the vaccine.

– Idaho Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch

The trend in Idaho COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICUs and deaths

Federal data show the following, based on reports from hospitals on Tuesday, Feb. 15. (See “Notes” below for additional information about the data.)

The numbers here are 7-day rolling averages. The larger the difference between current and previous rolling average, the faster that metric is changing. Numbers in black are unchanged from the previous day’s rolling average, numbers in red are worsened, and numbers in green are improved.

  • People hospitalized with COVID-19: 474 (previous: 488) which is 20.9% (previous: 21.4%) of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • Adults in the ICU with COVID-19: 113 (previous: 114)
  • Children hospitalized with COVID-19: 13 (previous: 15)
  • Patients newly admitted to the hospital each day, with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 57 (previous: 61)
  • People who died in Idaho hospitals each day, with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 5 (previous: 5)
  • Patients newly admitted with COVID-19 each day, by age:
    Children: 1 (previous: 1)
    Age 18-19: 0 (previous: 0)
    20s: 2 (previous: 3)
    30s: 4 (previous: 5)
    40s: 3 (previous: 3)
    50s: 8 (previous: 8)
    60s: 11 (previous: 12)
    70s: 13 (previous: 15)
    80+: 13 (previous: 14)
    age unknown: 1 (previous: 1)
  • Staffed adult ICU beds that were still available statewide, according to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare data: 15 (previous: 17)

The rolling-average daily numbers for influenza:

  • People hospitalized with the flu: 2 (previous: 2) which is 0.1% (previous: 0.1%) of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • People hospitalized with the flu and COVID: 0 (previous: 0) which is 0.0% (previous: 0.0%) of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • People newly admitted with the flu: 0 (previous: 0)
  • ICU patients with the flu: 1 (previous: 1)
  • Flu deaths in Idaho hospitals: 0 (previous: 0)

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.)

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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

Questions or comments? Reach reporter Audrey Dutton at [email protected].

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

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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