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Kootenai Health postponing non-emergent procedures as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge

Kootenai Health is postponing all elective procedures due to the overwhelming number of COVID patients being treated at the Coeur d’Alene hospital.

Hospitalizations have more than doubled in just two weeks in the Idaho Panhandle, and Kootenai Health has the highest number of COVID patients of any hospital in the state of Idaho.

There are 71 Panhandle residents hospitalized, and 68 of them are being treated at Kootenai Health. Two weeks ago there were 29 residents hospitalized with the virus.

“The COVID-19 hospital census is rising at a faster rate than it did last winter. If this trend continues, in just five days we will surpass our previous COVID-19 high census from December 2020,” hospital CEO Jon Ness said in a news release.

The delta variant is sweeping through the Inland Northwest, and in the Idaho Panhandle, where the vaccination rate is 42%, cases and hospitalizations are surging as a result.

The hospital is reassigning staff from other parts of the hospital to help triage and treat COVID-19 patients, and Kootenai Health has asked the state of Idaho for help.

“We need help finding enough nursing staff to care for the increased volumes of critical care and acute care patients,” Jeremy Evans, the hospital’s COVID incident commander, said in a news release.

Here’s a look at local numbersThe Spokane Regional Health District reported 98 new cases on Monday and 355 new cases over the weekend.

The district also confirmed three additional deaths. There have been 693 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County.

There are 111 people hospitalized with the virus in Spokane County.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 232 new cases on Monday and over the weekend and one additional death. There have been 336 deaths due to COVID-19 in Panhandle residents. There are 71 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.