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Idaho enacts crisis hospital care standards amid COVID surge

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2020, file photo, Idaho Gov. Brad Little gestures during a press conference at the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho.(Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP, File)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho public health leaders on Tuesday activated “crisis standards of care” for the state’s northern hospitals because there are more coronavirus patients than the institutions can handle.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare made the announcement, warning residents that they may not be able to get the care they normally expect if they need to be hospitalized.

The agency cited “a severe shortage of staffing and available beds in the northern area of the state caused by a massive increase in patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization.”

 The designation includes 10 hospitals and healthcare systems in the Idaho panhandle and in north-central Idaho.

The move allows hospitals to allot scarce resources like intensive care unit rooms to patients most likely to survive.

Other patients will still receive care, but they may be placed in classrooms or conference rooms rather than traditional hospital rooms or go without some life-saving medical equipment.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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