As with many hospitals in the state and throughout the region, we are seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 patients.
As of August 2, Kootenai Health had 38 COVID-19 patients, 16 who require critical level care.
Additionally, we are also seeing an increased COVID-19 positivity rate (the percent of people who test positive after testing), an indication of increased spread in our community.
We urge every community member to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
After the COVID-19 vaccines were introduced, our health care team was optimistic that we would eventually close our COVID-19 isolation unit. Instead, we are creating contingency plans in anticipation of new surges due to low vaccination rates. This adds burden to the other areas of the hospital and to our employees, who continue to care for our community.
The reality is that Kootenai Health has had COVID-19 patients in our hospital every day for more than a year and the number is now growing again.
If you have considered vaccination we urge you to not wait, it can take up to six weeks for full immunity (two weeks after your last dose).
To get vaccinated for COVID-19, please visit your local pharmacy. Vaccination is free for all Americans.
Statement from Dr. Robert Scoggins:
“Although we don’t officially track vaccination status in the medical record, anecdotally, the vast majority of patients in our COVID-19 ICU unit with an active COVID-19 infection have not been fully vaccinated. There have been a few patients who have been fully vaccinated and ended up needing hospitalization but they were significantly immunosuppressed (organ transplant, etc.) and their ability to produce antibodies of any kind was extremely diminished.
The reality is that this is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The majority of patients we meet in the ICU, fighting for breath, regret their decision to skip the vaccine. I have found that many want to be part of the solution after they are discharged. Surprisingly, some are still in denial they have COVID-19, even while they are on high flow oxygen fighting for their life.
In the past few weeks, we have begun to see younger patients admitted with COVID-19. We have seen a reduction in older people hospitalized because the older population prioritized vaccination.”
Robert Scoggins, M.D. PhD
Chief of Staff and Medical Director of Critical Care