On Aug. 25, 2021, Kootenai Health exceeded its previous maximum number of COVID-19 patients with 96 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and 37 of those in critical care. The previous high set on Dec. 23, 2020, was 91. Based on predictive models and the rapid spread of the COVID-19 delta variant in our community, the hospital expects the surge to continue to escalate.
This week, within a 36-hour period, four COVID-19 patients at Kootenai Health passed away. Three of them were 45 or younger. Yesterday Kootenai installed a new, higher-capacity oxygen tank because the hospitalized COVID-19 patients they are seeing now have a much greater need for oxygen. They also continue to seek additional clinical staff to care for the growing surge of COVID-19 patients.
Late last week, Kootenai Health leaders made the decision to convert the hospital’s largest classroom in its Health Resource Center into a patient care unit. The intent is to use this space to care for low-acuity COVID-19 patients. Numerous teams have worked around the clock to ensure the space meets all the necessary standards for patient and staff safety and infection prevention. It can accommodate up to 22 patients.
Additionally, separate rooms in the Health Resource Center have been converted to provide monoclonal antibody therapy to COVID-19 patients who are not hospitalized.
Providing patient care in this space will mean a transition to crisis standards of care. Crisis standards of care are guidelines that help health care providers decide how to deliver the best care possible under extraordinary circumstances. These can include disasters or public health emergencies when health care systems are so overwhelmed by patients, or resources are so scarce, it is no longer possible to provide all patients the level of care they would receive under normal circumstances. The goal of crisis standards of care is to extend care to as many patients as possible and save as many lives as possible.
Only the state has the authority to issue a crisis standards of care declaration. Such a declaration can be issued for a given region or the entire state. Kootenai Health leaders are participating on the Idaho crisis standards of care taskforce and providing information on the current situation as it relates to the need to issue a crisis standards of care declaration.
Kootenai Health and its medical staff members continue to implore community leaders and citizens to add their efforts to the cause. They are asking every individual and family to do their part to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Please get vaccinated for COVID-19, wear a mask when out in public, avoid optional large gatherings, practice social distancing and wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
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Kootenai Health provides comprehensive medical services to patients in northern Idaho and the Inland Northwest. Its main campus is located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and includes a 331-bed community-owned hospital. Kootenai Health is accredited by DNV. It also holds Magnet designation for nursing excellence, Level III Trauma Center designation, Level III NICU designation, and accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Kootenai is recognized as a center of excellence for total knee and hip replacement, as a top 50 cardiovascular hospital, a Gallup Great Workplace Award winner, an “A” rated facility for patient safety, and an “A” rated organization for financial strength by Standard and Poor’s.
Kootenai is regionally known for its programs in cardiac care, orthopedics, oncology, women’s and children’s services and behavioral health. Kootenai Clinic is comprised of 193 physicians and advanced practitioners providing primary and specialty care in practice locations across the region. For more information, visit www.kh.org.