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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to set records in Idaho

This electron microscope image made available and color-enhanced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Md., shows Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus particles.  (HOGP)

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to set record highs, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said.

Jeppesen, speaking at a weekly COVID-19 media briefing Tuesday, said crisis standards of care remain in effect statewide as the number of coronavirus patients continues to exceed available health care resources.

He said the number of hospitalized patients averaged 757 last week and the number of intensive care unit patients averaged 202 – both records.

“We expect these numbers to continue to increase,” Jeppesen said. “We do not see where this is going to turn around just yet.”

Jeppesen said there are 140 long-term care centers with people who have COVID-19, which is an increase from 14 care centers in early July.

Dr. Kathryn Turner, deputy state epidemiologist, said weekly case counts in children are increasing faster than counts in adults.

“In fact, infections among children have reached record levels in the past few weeks,” Turner said.

She said 20% of all new cases reported in Idaho are children, which Turner said is much higher than this time last year.

In mid-December, Idaho peaked at just over 1,100 cases among children in one week. The number of infected children has recently skyrocketed, Turner said.

She said over 1,300 cases among children were reported during the last week of August. Nearly 1,700 cases were reported among children last week.

The increase in infections in children has led to a spike in pediatric hospitalizations.

Turner said over 200 Idaho children have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Thirty-one Idaho children have developed a post-infection complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in which organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain, become inflamed.

Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator for the Idaho Division of Public Health, fought back tears as she said she has read the names of every single person who has died from COVID-19 in Idaho. That number is at 2,830 as of Tuesday.

She said it is important to honor the dead by reading their names and acknowledging them as humans, not as data points.

She said the ages of the departed are getting younger and are predominantly unvaccinated.

“I worry every single day that we have not done enough as a society to protect our loved ones from needless suffering and we have let a narrative prevail that does not support vaccines and public health mitigation measures,” Shaw-Tulloch said.

Officials at Tuesday’s media briefing said people should continue to follow COVID-19 mitigation measures, which include getting vaccinated, wearing face coverings, staying home when ill, physical distancing and washing hands frequently.

Here’s a look at local numbers:

The Spokane Regional Health District reported 340 new cases and eight additional deaths due to COVID-19.

There have been 844 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County residents. Last week, there were 18 deaths reported in county residents.

There are 171 people hospitalized with the virus in Spokane hospitals.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 101 new COVID-19 cases and no additional deaths on Tuesday.

There are 119 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.