Idaho docs: Rationed care looming as virus quickly spreads

Doctors serving Idaho and eastern Oregon spent hours Tuesday trying to convince health districts, city leaders and the public to do more to stop the spread of coronavirus, warning that rationed care may be in Idaho’s future. Idaho is experiencing severe and unchecked community spread of COVID-19 in much of the state, with more than 83,000 cases statewide and a positivity rate that has increased by nearly 42% in the past two weeks. There were nearly 1,000 new cases reported for every 100,000 residents in the past two weeks, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University.

Unless the community “radically changes,” the number of COVID patients in southwestern Idaho hospitals will double by Christmas and triple by mid-January, according to Dr. Steven Nemerson with Saint Alphonsus Health Center, who spoke to the mayor of Boise during the briefing. The hospital system uses predictive modeling to determine how many coronavirus cases will likely come in the weeks ahead. These modeling systems use regional testing numbers and other data to predict how many COVID-19 patients will need to be hospitalized. It has been highly accurate so far, Nemerson said, but it doesn’t account for Thanksgiving get-togethers or holiday traveling. That could increase numbers dramatically, if the spikes seen in Idaho after the 4th of July holiday weekend are any indication. (AP)

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