Idaho Dispatch

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Gov. Little Deploys National Guard, Says ICU Beds Nearly Full with Unvaccinated

By • August 31, 2021

Governor Brad Little (R) did an address to the citizens of Idaho this afternoon.

Little addressed the Covid-19 virus and said that the time for Idahoans to get vaccinated is now. Additionally, Little laid out several actions he said he was taking to help fight Covid.

During his public address, Little said that only four of the 400 ICU beds were available in the state of Idaho and that nearly all of Idaho’s hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients.

Little pleaded with Idahoans to get the Covid-19 shots and said he was grateful for those who had been vaccinated. Little told Idahoans,

I want to thank the more than 818,000 Idahoans who have shown love for their neighbor by choosing to receive the safe and effective vaccine. To the others, please choose to receive the vaccine now to protect lives, help our exhausted medical staff, keep healthcare access available to all of us, keep our workforce healthy, and keep our kids in school.

To fight what is currently happening across Idaho with Covid-19, Little said that he was once again activating the Idaho Army National Guard to help support short-staffed medical facilities with approximately 150 personnel.

Additionally, Little said that he was directing more funds to help hospitals retain and attract more healthcare workers to stay in Idaho and that temporary licensing fees would also be waived once again.

Little also said that Idaho would have access to approximately 200 additional medical and administrative personnel through a contract with the General Services Administration.

Finally, Little said that a 20-person Department of Defense “medical response team” would go to northern Idaho. Little said that northern Idaho is one of the lowest unvaccinated areas of Idaho.

You can read a full Press Release from Little’s office sent to the media after his address.

Here is the full Press Release:

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little announced today a last-ditch effort to avoid the first-ever activation of statewide crisis standards of care by adding hundreds of new medical personnel for Idaho hospitals, but he said the real solution to the crisis is more Idahoans choosing to receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Nearly all Idaho hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. There are more Idahoans in Intensive Care Units (ICU) with COVID-19 than ever before. The vast majority of them are unvaccinated.

“On a daily call with hospitals this morning, we heard there are only FOUR adult ICU beds available in the entire state, out of close to 400. Where hospitals have converted other spaces to be used as contingency ICU beds, those are filling up too,” Governor Little said. “We are dangerously close to activating statewide crisis standards of care – a historic step that means Idahoans in need of healthcare could receive a lesser standard of care or may be turned away altogether. In essence, someone would have to decide who can be treated and who cannot. This affects all of us, not just patients with COVID-19.”

Governor Little is adding up to 370 additional personnel to assist hospitals with the surge.

  • By mobilizing the Idaho National Guard again, up to 150 guardsmen will support short-staffed medical facilities. They will be tasked with logistical support such as screenings, lab work, and other duties.
  • In addition, 200 additional medical and administrative personnel will be available to Idaho through a contract with the U.S. General Services Administration.
  • A 20-person Department of Defense medical response team will be deployed to North Idaho, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the state and where they are experiencing the greatest need.

“Idaho hospitals are beyond constrained. Our healthcare system is designed to deal with the everyday realities of life. Our healthcare system is NOT designed to withstand the prolonged strain caused by an unrestrained global pandemic. It is simply not sustainable. Please choose to receive the vaccine now to support your fellow Idahoans who need you,” Governor Little said.

Governor Little highlighted other recent steps he has taken to alleviate the crisis. Last week, he announced the opening of three monoclonal antibody treatment centers across the state, where Idahoans at greatest risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19 will be able to receive therapeutic medications to hopefully avoid hospitalization and help preserve critical capacity in our hospitals.

He also directed new funds to help Idaho hospitals attract and retain the medical staff they need as they compete with healthcare systems across the nation for workers.

In addition, Governor Little’s administration announced this month that temporary licensing fees are waived again for retired or inactive nurses so they can activate their licenses and reenter the workforce more easily during this unprecedented time. This same step last year cleared the way for more than 1,000 nurses and other health professionals to help out.

“I hope it will be enough for us to avoid statewide crisis standards of care, but we are teetering on the brink and there is only one real solution – we need more Idahoans to choose to receive the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine now,” Governor Little said.

Some Idaho schools have already been forced to transition to remote learning because of COVID-19 outbreaks among staff and families. Addressing the Idahoans who are still on the fence or are just putting off receiving the vaccine, Governor Little said the time to get vaccinated is now, so our kids can have a normal school year.

“I want to thank the more than 818,000 Idahoans who have shown love for their neighbor by choosing to receive the safe and effective vaccine. To the others, please choose to receive the vaccine now to protect lives, help our exhausted medical staff, keep healthcare access available to all of us, keep our workforce healthy, and keep our kids in school,” Governor Little said.

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Idaho Dispatch is working on a separate article to get reactions from citizens, lawmakers, and organizations on Little’s address.

What did you think of Little’s address and the subsequent Press Release?

Let us know in the comments below!


Tags: Covid-19, Governor Brad Little, Idaho National Guard, Unvaccinated, Vaccine