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‘Tripledemic’ before holidays causing strain on local hospitals

‘Tripledemic’ before holidays causing strain on local hospitals

BOISE, Idaho – The recent surge in COVID-19, RSV and Influenza has overwhelmed hospitals.

Discussions have begun about crisis standards of care, but leaders at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare say that implementing those standards is far from over.

“We are not in a full-on crisis, but we are doing things that are not normal, and it always puts us at risk if we see a significant jump that it is possible that we will get there,” Dr. said Dave Jepsen, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The stress is causing St. Luke’s health system to change how they treat patients.

The hospital treats children at home with oxygen and creates a “suction clinic” for RSV patients to be treated in an outpatient setting instead of a hospital.

St. Luke’s also canceled elective surgeries in the pediatrics department to help stretch resources.

“We have had to keep sick babies in our NICU who would normally be in the PICU. We have taken babies who do not have acute respiratory illness and have been hospitalized for any other reason and put them on the adult med surg floor Is placed.” Dr. Jim Souza, Chief Physician, St. Luke’s Health System.

“We have taken approximately adult-sized children who would typically be cared for in a PICU or pediatric floor setting and moved them to the adult ICU or adult floor,” Souza said.

St. Luke’s has begun rationing medications such as Children’s Liquid Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Amoxicillin, Augmentin, Albuterol and other common antibiotics to shore up supplies.

The increase in illness has forced some schools in Idaho to cancel classes.

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IDHW officials say RSV cases are beginning to decline, but now doctors are seeing spikes in COVID-19 and influenza.

People at risk for the flu are the same as those at risk for COVID-19. People with underlying medical conditions, people who are immunocompromised, infants, the elderly, and pregnant people may be at higher risk for more severe illness.

If you are sick, health officials urge you to get tested right away because antiviral drugs can help you if diagnosed sooner rather than later.

Doctors recommend getting your flu shot and updated COVID-19 booster shot, if you haven’t already.

You can watch the full briefing below.

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