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St. Luke’s, Saint Alphonsus on rising number of COVID patients: ‘we’ve got to be ahead of this’

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COVID-19 Idaho

With the number of cases of COVID rising across Idaho – and the Boise metro area – the leaders at the top two local hospital systems told the Central District Health Dept. that the situation in their facilities is changing.

“We’ve been seeing a significant increase in patients in the hospital with COVID,” Saint Alphonsus Health System CEO Odette Bolano said.

St. Luke’s, Saint Alphonsus stats

The number of people hospitalized with COVID at Saint Alphonsus stands at 27, which she said was an increase from a few weeks ago when three people were in the hospital.

“We have six patients in the ICU, only one is (on a ventilator),” Bolano said. “The number of ICU patients is lower than what we’ve seen. We had as many as 11 so we are down slightly.”

At St. Luke’s, the larger health system, even more folks are hospitalized.

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“Today we have 51 COVID-related admissions, 14 of whom in the Intensive Care Unit,” St. Luke’s CEO Chris Roth said. He said that beats the previous high during the first peak in the pandemic when 41 people were hospitalized. “We are hitting a new high water mark just about every day.”

[Boise’s mask order: Do you have to wear one at the office?]

‘Concerned’

“We are pretty concerned about the numbers and how quickly they are rising,” Bolano said. “Our whole entire test system is overwhelmed at this point. We just got off a call figuring out how we can manage the number of people who want to be tested.”

“We’re very concerned with what we are seeing & where we’re headed,” Roth said. “Our model shows week after week increases because there is nothing we’ve been able to determine is going to change the trajectory because of the collective behaviors of the community, I’ll put it that way.”

“We’ve got to be ahead of this,” Bolano said. “We can’t just wait. We’re not going to get one patient at a time, we’re going to get four or five at a time.”

[First-person account: I got COVID in Boise. I’m fine, but here’s what I went through]

Bolano said testing is starting to be a strained resource.

“Our whole entire test system is overwhelmed at this point,” she said. Bolano said the number of people testing positive is at about 16.5%. She said the turnaround time for tests has increased.

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