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St. Luke's hits pause on certain elective surgeries

Officials said an increase in hospitalizations due to a surge in COVID-19 patients means that certain elective outpatient surgeries and procedures will be reduced.

BOISE, Idaho — St. Luke's Health System announced on Tuesday that due the significant and rapidly increasing COVID-19 that's driving up hospitalizations, it will pause certain elective surgeries and procedures starting Sept. 1.

This announcement comes as Idaho Gov. Brad Little said he is mobilizing 150 guardsmen and 200 additional medical and administrative personnel to assist hospitals with the surge in COVID cases.

"Idaho hospitals are beyond constrained," Little said. "Our healthcare system is designed to deal with the everyday realities of life. Our healthcare system is not designed to withstand the prolonged strain caused by a global pandemic. It is simply not sustainable."

St. Luke's officials said their decision to pause certain procedures is a proactive step to manage its capacity for care.

"Due to the rapidly escalating COVID surge throughout our community, we are doing all we can to ensure we have capacity to support growing inpatient volumes of both COVID and non-COVID patients. Our hospitalizations due to COVID have risen to levels higher than our peak last fall, including a record number of patients in our ICU's." stated Dr. Frank Johnson, Chief Medical Officer of St. Luke's Boise, Elmore, McCall. 

The temporary pause is for elective inpatient and outpatient surgeries and procedures at St. Luke's hospitals in the Treasure Valley (Boise, Meridian and Nampa) and Elmore locations effective Wednesday, Sept. 1.

St. Luke's Magic Valley will extend its temporary pause on elective surgeries requiring an overnight stay. Beginning, Thursday, Sept. 2, certain elective outpatient surgeries and procedures will be reduced in order to help support inpatient care needs.

St. Luke's said it will continue to evaluate the cancelation of future impacted elective procedures on a regular basis. Impacted patients will be contacted directly.

St. Luke's hospitals in McCall and Wood River will not cancel any currently scheduled impacted elective surgeries and procedures at this time. Those will proceed as planned for now.

Both Dr. Johnson and Gov. Little said COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and they hope more Idahoans will choose to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.


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