In COVID-slammed Idaho, schools risk buckling hospitals
September 10, 2021
BOISE, Idaho - When Idaho public health officials announced this week that northern hospitals were so crowded with coronavirus patients that they would be allowed to ration health care, roughly 11,000 kids in Coeur d'Alene were packing lunches, climbing on buses or grabbing backpacks for their first day of school.
Very few of them - maybe 2% or 3%, based on one district spokesman's estimate - were wearing masks.
Kootenai Health, the hospital at the epicenter of the region's COVID-19 health care crisis, is just a 10-minute walk from the Coeur d'Alene School District's headquarters. It has 200 beds for medical or surgical patients, but on Wednesday - the second day of school - Kootenai Health's doctors and nurses were caring for 218 medical and surgical patients, aided by military doctors and nurses called in to help with the surge.