A significant rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations across Idaho has prompted the entire St. Luke's Health System to temporarily stop scheduling certain elective surgeries and procedures, according to a Thursday afternoon news release from St. Luke's Wood River Public Relations Manager Joy Prudek. This includes any procedures that can be delayed for 90 days or more without negative consequences and that require an overnight hospital stay.
The pause does not affect elective outpatient surgeries or procedures that do not require overnight hospital stays, the release states.
The decision covers all St. Luke's Health System facilities, and will go into effect Monday, Nov. 16. The pause will remain in place for the next six weeks, until Friday, Dec. 25--Christmas Day.
St. Luke's hospitals in Boise, Meridian, Magic Valley and Nampa are canceling all impacted elective surgeries and procedures, according to the announcement. Hospitals in McCall, Mountain Home and the Wood River Valley will not cancel any currently scheduled appointments. "Those will proceed as planned and the status will be evaluated on a weekly basis as well," the news release states.
“Given the increased COVID-19 hospitalizations and the significant impact on capacity at hospitals throughout our region and at hospitals where we transfer patients needing specialized or a higher level of care, it is necessary to take this action," Carmen Jacobsen, chief nursing officer/COO at St. Luke's Wood River, said in the announcement.
"It is our hope that everyone takes the necessary steps to curb the rise in cases. Wearing a mask, limiting gatherings, watching your distance and practicing good hygiene can protect you and your loved ones and help us in our ability to add back elective surgeries.”
Thursday's announcement came two days after St. Luke's Magic Valley in Twin Falls had to divert patients away from its Intensive Care Unit after a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations temporarily brought the facility to maximum capacity, Prudek told the Express on Wednesday.