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Idaho forced to ration medical care as hospitals buckle under Covid

Coeur d’Alene-based Kootenai Health has converted a classroom to a COVID-19 care unit in preparation for crisis standards of care. (Courtesy of Kootenai Health)

BOISE - Idaho on Tuesday morning moved into “crisis standards of care” for the first time in the state’s history.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare made the decision, which applies to North Idaho, based on a recommendation from a large committee of health care and patient-advocacy stakeholders from around the state.

It comes as Idaho hospitals see the largest surge of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Staffing is a major issue in Idaho hospitals, which struggled before the pandemic to hire enough specialized nurses with experience in emergency and intensive care units — two areas now being hit hardest by patients with . . .