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Amid surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Little to give Idaho hospitals $10 million in relief funds

The $10 million is "to address the growing needs in Idaho hospitals, primary and urgent care clinics, and skilled nursing facilities due to the recent surge."

BOISE, Idaho — With more Idahoans with COVID-19 filling hospital beds across the Gem State and crisis standards of care activated, Gov. Brad Little is granting Idaho hospitals $10 million in relief funds, his office announced on Tuesday.

The $10 million is meant "to address the growing needs in Idaho hospitals, primary and urgent care clinics, and skilled nursing facilities due to the recent surge in COVID-19 patients needing care," according to Gov. Little's office.

"We have taken many steps to preserve access to healthcare during the pandemic, and this latest round of support will help ease the burden on our hospitals and healthcare heroes right now," Gov. Little said in a statement.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare public administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch said at Tuesday's IDHW media briefing that $3 million will go towards hospitals, $3.5 million has been made available for primary care and urgent care entities and another $3.5 million is directed towards skilled nursing facilities.

The additional funds announced by Little brought the total for hospitals to $7 million, the total for primary care and urgent care entities to $4.5 million and the total for skilled nursing facilities to $8.5 million, according to a release from Gov. Little's office.

Shaw-Tulloch said 33 hospitals and 16 primary care and urgent care facilities have been awarded funding so far.

There has also been $30 million expended towards COVID-19 testing in Idaho K-12 schools. IDHW said 47 schools and districts have expressed interest in the money and funding is underway for 11 so far.

"Additionally regarding staffing we continue to partner with our friends at the Idaho Office of Emergency Management and we continue to review applications that come in and allocate staffing resources," Shaw-Tulloch explained.

Out of the 555 requests for personnel across the state, 257 have so far been filled according to Shaw-Tulloch. Several health systems and facilities have been able to use the federal General Services Administration (GSA) contract and the Idaho National Guard.

According to IDHW, 216 of the 337 clinical requested positions have been filled at Kootenai Health, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, St. Luke's Health System, Steele Memorial, Clear Water Valley Hospitals, St. Mary's, Shoshone Medical Center, Weiser Memorial, Cascadia of Nampa and Orchards of Cascadia. Also, 41 of the 218 non-clinical requested positions have been filled at Kootenai Health, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, St. Luke's Health System, Clear Water Valley Hospitals, St. Mary's, Desert Sage Health Centers, West Valley, Saltzer Health, Primary Health, Southwest District Public Health, Valor Health, Shoshone Medical Center and Weiser Memorial.

"Requests for assistance are coming in continuously and we review those requests on a weekly basis making those allocations," Shaw-Tulloch said,

The governor's office did also provide a list of things that Gov. Little has done throughout the pandemic. However, crisis standards of care have been activated across Idaho, even with the other $50 million in other resources the governor has allocated to fight the surging pandemic on the list.

Neither the governor nor his office provided any additional comment on the relief funds in his statement.

Gov. Little continues to encourage Idahoans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

RELATED: Latest Idaho COVID-19 case and vaccine numbers: Interactive graphs and maps tracking the pandemic

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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