COVID surges in Idaho: Crisis standards and National Guard activated

Photo by Claire Keener

Gov. Brad Little announced Monday that he is reactivating the Idaho National Guard in response to climbing COVID numbers in the state. 

Little is activating 75 guardsmen to assist at Primary Health Medical Group and the Idaho Department of Correction, both of which are experiencing staffing shortages due to COVID-19. An additional 503 personnel will be assigned to assist Idaho hospitals.

“I am proud of our men and women of the Idaho National Guard who have stepped up time and again to help our state and communities get through an unprecedented, challenging time. The strain on healthcare, schools, business, and government from the spread of COVID-19 is a reminder that we are not out of the pandemic, and we need to be vigilant about keeping ourselves and our loved ones healthy,” Little said in a press release.

This is the fourth time the Idaho National Guard has been activated for COVID assistance since the start of the pandemic. 

This announcement follows the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s (IDHW) activation of crisis standards of care in south, southwest and central health districts in response to the omicron surge. 

This is the second time in five months that crisis standards have been activated. However, some hospitals within the activated regions have yet to implement crisis standards of care

Screenshot from the Boise State COVID Tracking Dashboard

“Omicron is so much more contagious than previous variants, and even though a lower percentage of cases are ending up in the hospital, the record number of cases is still putting strain on our healthcare system,” said IDHW Director Dave Jeppesen in an IdahoNews report.

Additionally, the Boise State community has seen a significant increase in cases since the start of the spring semester. 

The university hit an all-time high COVID positivity rate with a record 371 new cases for the week of Jan. 14 to 20, a 192.13% increase to the previous highest positivity rate in early September following the delta surge.

For the week of Jan. 21 to 27, there were a recorded 294 new cases on campus, consisting of 195 off-campus students, 48 residential students and 51 faculty members. Currently, Boise State’s isolation beds are at 29.1% capacity. 
The university tracks all campus COVID statistics through the Boise State COVID-19 Tracking Dashboard.

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