Today in Idaho hospitals and COVID-19 (updated 2/6): Patients, ERs, ICUs – Idaho Capital Sun

Editor’s note: The Idaho Capital Sun will publish this update on Idaho hospitals daily, except for holidays and Saturdays.

Idaho had a daily average of more than 600 people hospitalized with COVID-19 last week, according to hospital data obtained from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But the rapid rise in hospitalizations may have peaked, as daily counts have decreased in recent days.

During the delta-fueled surge of fall 2021, Idaho peaked at nearly 800 people in the hospital, in mid-September.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 leveled out in late December, with still hundreds of patients per day, and Idaho fully exited crisis standards of care. Then, the omicron variant arrived. It simultaneously sent more patients to the hospital and worsened COVID-related staffing shortages.

Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen on Jan. 24 announced the reactivation of crisis standards for the Treasure Valley, Magic Valley and Wood River Valley.

The crisis is driven not only by COVID-19, but also by a shortage of blood supplies, in Idaho and nationwide; and by staffing shortages at nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities, where hospitals normally would send patients who no longer need hospitalization but aren’t well enough to send home.

Idahoans who are fully vaccinated and have received their COVID-19 booster shot are 11 times less likely to be hospitalized for the coronavirus disease, according to omicron-era data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Even without a booster shot, Idahoans who completed their 1-dose or 2-dose COVID-19 vaccine series have reduced their risk of hospitalization four-fold, the data show.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Monday announced he has activated the Idaho National Guard for the fourth time to help the state get through its fifth surge of COVID-19.

The governor activated 75 Idaho National Guardsmen to assist Primary Health Medical Group — one of Idaho’s largest urgent care providers — and the Idaho Department of Correction, which have staffing shortages due to COVID-19, a news release from his office said Monday.

Little also said Idaho will receive 503 personnel through a state contract to help staff Idaho hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19.

Most patients in the hospital with COVID-19, particularly those who need intensive care, are unvaccinated, according to Saint Alphonsus Health System officials and data from St. Luke’s Health System.

It’s not too late to get the vaccine.

– Idaho Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch

There is no COVID-19 vaccine approved or authorized yet for infants or children under age 5, whose smaller airways may be more susceptible to damage from omicron infections.

The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 now surpasses any other point in the pandemic.

The trend in Idaho COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICUs and deaths

Federal data show the following, based on reports from hospitals on Sunday, Feb. 6. (See “Notes” below for additional information about the data.)

The numbers here are 7-day rolling averages. The larger the difference between current and previous rolling average, the faster that metric is changing. Numbers in black are unchanged from the previous day’s rolling average, numbers in red are worsened, and numbers in green are improved.

  • People hospitalized with COVID-19: 588 (previous: 595) which is 25.3% (previous: 25.6%) of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • Adults in the ICU with COVID-19: 101 (previous: 101)
  • Children hospitalized with COVID-19: 20 (previous: 20)
  • Patients newly admitted to the hospital each day, with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 80 (previous: 83)
  • People who died in Idaho hospitals each day, with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: 6 (previous: 6)
  • Patients newly admitted with COVID-19 each day, by age:
    Children: 3 (previous: 3)
    Age 18-19: 1 (previous: 1)
    20s: 4 (previous: 5)
    30s: 6 (previous: 6)
    40s: 6 (previous: 7)
    50s: 9 (previous: 10)
    60s: 17 (previous: 17)
    70s: 19 (previous: 20)
    80+: 13 (previous: 13)
    age unknown: 1 (previous: 1)
  • Staffed adult ICU beds that were still available statewide, according to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare data: 19 (previous: 15)data from Feb. 4 (and Feb. 3)

The rolling-average daily numbers for influenza:

  • People hospitalized with the flu: 4 (previous: 4) which is 0.2% (previous: 0.2%) of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • People hospitalized with the flu and COVID: 1 (previous: 1) which is 0.0% (previous: 0.0%) of people hospitalized for all reasons
  • People newly admitted with the flu: 0 (previous: 0)
  • ICU patients with the flu: 0 (previous: 0)
  • Flu deaths in Idaho hospitals: 0 (previous: 0)

Note: These numbers may differ from those reported by the state, local public health districts or individual hospitals. There are multiple reasons for this: Some agencies use different methods and data sources. Hospital census always fluctuates as patients are admitted, discharged, moved to and from the ICU, and remain hospitalized for ongoing care. And some Idaho hospitals may be behind on reporting through the federal portal from which the Sun gets its data, which can result in revisions to the previous one to three days’ totals. (The federal data use the most recent numbers reported by each hospital in the previous four-day period. The rationale is to provide numbers that are as accurate as possible; for example, it reduces the risk that hospitalizations appear to plummet when a large hospital misses a day of reporting.)


You can also visit the Idaho Division of Public Health’s dashboard to see other metrics on the Idaho COVID-19 situation.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Idaho, ICU capacity, and adults and kids in the hospital

Questions or comments? Reach reporter Audrey Dutton at [email protected].