| Idaho hit a grim COVID-19 trifecta this week, reaching
| record numbers of emergency room visits, hospitalizations
| and ICU patients. Medical experts say the deeply
| conservative state will likely see 30,000 new infections a
| week by mid-September.
| With a critical shortage of hospital beds and staff and one
| of the nation's lowest vaccination rates, Idaho health
| providers are growing desperate and preparing to follow
| crisis standards of care, which call for giving scarce
| resources to patients most likely to survive.
| St. Luke's Boise Medical Center invited The Associated
| Press into its restricted ICUs this week in hopes that
| sharing the dire reality would prompt people to change
| their behavior.
| "There is so much loss here, and so much of it is
| preventable. I'm not just talking about loss of life.
| Ultimately, it's like loss of hope," said Dr. Jim Souza,
| chief medical officer. "When the vaccines came out in
| December, those of us in health care were like, 'Oh, my
| God, it's like the cavalry coming over the hill.' ... To
| see now what's playing out? It's all so needless."