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COVID-19 cases pressure upper valley hospitals

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

DRIGGS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-Regional hospitals reported to the East Idaho Public Health Board this week they are being heavily impacted by COVID-19 infections.

East Idaho Public Health reported four upper valley counties, including Bonneville, Fremont, Jefferson, and Madison, are in moderate risk this week.

According to accounts from Teton County Emergency Managers, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center told the board it had 20 COVID patients, seven of whom are in intensive care on ventilators, and that medical surgical beds were full. COO David Hofferberg told the board that EIRMC was preparing to open an overflow unit if COVID cases continue to increase.

Teton County Fire/EMS reported one Teton Valley COVID-19 patient was directed to Idaho Falls Community Hospital because EIRMC was at capacity.

Idaho Falls Community Hospital reported to the board that it was near 50% capacity. The hospital reported three patients were on ventilators and another on oxygen. Hospital officials told the board of health there had been an increase in cases, including younger patients.

And, in Rexburg, Madison Memorial Hospital reported it was at 85% of capacity. The hospital was treating two COVID patients. Another 54-year-old woman died there earlier this week.

As the number of infections strains medical resources, Teton County Emergency Management is encouraging residents to maintain COVID-19 precautions.

While 77 students and staff have been quarantined in School District 401, there are currently 9 positive COVID-19 cases within the school system. If those infections continue, officials warn the district could be forced to revert to virtual learning only.

Officials added, " It is vital that local residents continue to adhere to the same precautions we have been promoting for months, including staying home if you’re sick, wearing face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand washing and use of sanitizer, and ongoing cleaning of frequently touched surfaces."

Teton County residents can find additional health information here.

East Idaho Public Health information is available here.

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