Hospitals in Idaho have become so overwhelmed with patients that health officials are allowing them to ration care. The Idaho Department of Health and Wellness announced that it has activated the Crisis Standards of Care for the entire state as healthcare workers struggle to deal with the influx of patients with COVID-19.
"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," Dave Jeppesen, the director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said in a statement.
The declaration allows hospitals to repurpose rooms not meant for patient care and prioritize healthcare decisions based on how sick a patient is. That means that some patients may have to wait longer for treatment or be transferred to another hospital to receive the proper care.
"They may have to wait for a bed to open, or be moved to another hospital in or out of state that has the resources they need," the department explained. "Or they might not be prioritized for the limited resources that are available. In other words, 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."
Jeppesen urged people to get vaccinated to help alleviate some of the strain on the healthcare system.
"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. In addition, please wear a mask indoors in public and outdoors when it's crowded to help slow the spread," he said.