BREAKING: Four ICU beds available statewide, Gov. Little calls in National Guard to assist hospitals

Photo by Mackenzie Hudson

Governor Brad Little announced on Tuesday, Aug. 31 that he will be calling in hundreds of personnel, including the National Guard, to assist hospitals with the sudden spike of COVID positive cases. He once again urged Idahoans to get vaccinated but did not announce any new mandates.

Little toured a nearly full ICU in Boise yesterday and made it clear that, among the COVID-positive patients, all of them were unvaccinated.

“Yesterday evening, I toured a nearly full ICU in Boise. What I saw was heartbreaking,” Little said. “Among the COVID-positive patients, all of them were unvaccinated. Some were young, some were middle-aged and two patients were pregnant. All of them were struggling to breathe and most were only breathing with the help of the machine.”

Little said that more than 818,000 Idahoans have chosen to receive the COVID vaccine, but USA Facts reports that 699,897 Idahoans are fully vaccinated. 789,356 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Overall, 98.3% of those in the ICUs are unvaccinated.

With ICUs across the state nearly full — there are only four unoccupied beds as of Friday, according to Little — hospitals across the state are seeing a severe decrease in staff, space and equipment. 

“I’m mobilizing the National Guard to respond to the pandemic […] to support our short-staffed medical facilities,” Little said. “They will be tasked with logistical support, such as screening, lab work and other duties.”

According to Little, Idaho hospitals are “teetering on the brink” of being forced to implement crisis standards of care, rationing resources for patients deemed most likely to survive.

“Please choose to receive the vaccine to protect lives, help our exhausted medical staff, keep health care access available to all of us and keep our workforce healthy and keep our kids in school,” Little said.

After addressing Idaho’s current status regarding the pandemic, Gov. Little urged each and every individual to get vaccinated. 

“The time to receive the vaccine is now,” Little said.

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