COVID-19 Surge Forces Health Care Rationing In Parts Of West

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2021 file photo an emergency department sign is photographed at Kootenai Health, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Idaho's public health leaders have expanded health care rationing statewide amid a massive increase in the number of coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare made the announcement Thursday Sept. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak,File)

(AP) — In another ominous sign about the spread of the delta variant, Idaho public health leaders expanded health care rationing statewide and individual hospital systems in Alaska and Montana have enacted similar crisis standards.

The moves come amid a spike in the number of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization. The decisions marked an escalation of the pandemic in several Western states struggling to convince skeptical people to get vaccinated.

Crisis standards of care mean that scarce resources such as ICU beds are allotted to patients most likely to survive. Other patients are treated with less effective methods and in dire cases given pain relief and other care.


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