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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Kootenai Health at capacity as COVID-19 cases climb

Kootenai Health reported Tuesday that it's restricting visitors because of rising COVID-19 cases in the community.   (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

From staff reports

Soaring COVID-19 infection rates in Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding communities of North Idaho have pushed Kootenai Health hospital to declare it has reached capacity for all medical and surgical patients.

New patients in the region could be sent to Portland or Seattle for treatment.

The hospital said it has 31 COVID patients, including 11 requiring critical care. It also said Spokane hospitals are at capacity, and “all regional hospitals are experiencing the same situation.”

“We are seeing the highest rate of positivity since the start of the pandemic,” the hospital said of COVID-19 tests.

Providence Health, however, released a statement shortly after Kootenai’s saying it has room for more patients.

”At this time, local Providence hospitals have capacity to treat patients for regular and emergency needs,” the statement reads. “Although our patient census is high, we remain open and available for care.”

The news arrives as Kootenai County’s coronavirus cases soar. And it arrives amid continued calls in the community to ease masking rules that are considered the best defense – along with social distancing – against further spread of the disease.

“The actions of our community will determine whether Kootenai Health and other regional hospitals will have the ability to continue providing care for all types of patients in our region,” the hospital said.

Kootenai Health also reported it is facing a staff shortage amid the ongoing pandemic.

Officials with Kootenai Health noted that after eight months, people are feeling “pandemic fatigue.”

“On behalf of your community hospital, health district, emergency services, and surrounding critical access hospitals, please stay vigilant,” the public hospital district said in a news release.