Kootenai Health Converts Boardroom to Patient Room as COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rise



COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and unvaccinated people are helping to spread the virus. 96 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 at Kootenai Health on Wednesday, the highest number on record.

Elective surgeries have already been stopped and even the COVID floor has doubled the number of patients in each room. However, hospital officials say there are just too many patients arriving.

“Over the past few weeks, we have admitted between 12 and 16 COVID patients per day. We can unload a little less than that. Every day the census keeps increasing, ”said Chief Medical Officer Dr Karen Cabell.

The previous record was set in December, with 91 patients. The majority of those arriving now are not vaccinated and are under 60 years of age. Doctors say they are spending more time in the hospital.

“A lot of patients are younger and have fewer comorbidities. In the last week over a 36 hour period, we had 3 people who died under 45 and they were in good health before they came to hospital, ”Cabell said.

RELATED: Kootenai Health Breaks Previous Record with Number of Hospitalized COVID Patients

They are trying to find more room in the hospital to treat them all.

“So we have already taken all the measures very aggressively to find more beds by reducing elective surgeries,” Cabell said. “We readjusted the staff to occupy these beds. Now our problem is that we are out of beds and staff, which is why we had to expand these conference rooms.

They converted a large conference room into three separate patient rooms, adding 22 beds dedicated to treating coronavirus patients. It also includes patients with coronavirus.

“We continue to look for additional staff to care for these patients. If we occupy this space, here we will move to models of team care. It won’t be the same as the hospital, but we’ll make sure we do our best, ”said Jeremy Evans, regional operations manager.

They expect the number of patients to increase even more. They are exploring options to create even more space, reaching out to other hospitals in the area and possibly having tents if needed.

PAST COVERAGE: Record number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Kootenai Health

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