ER Doctor Issues Dire Warning
EYE ON SUN VALLEY
By Karen Bossick
‘Everyone needs to avoid contact with everyone outside their household or we’re not going to stop this thing.
“What I’m seeing is very scary in our emergency department, and that is volumes of patients who are very ill and who we’ve had to admit. Last weekend we admitted four patients in one hour,” Dr. Jim Torres told Dr. Tommy Ahlquist on Ahlquist’s Inspire Excellence podcast this week.
Torres said the beds at St. Luke’s Magic Valley hospital in Twin Falls are being filled up with patients from the Wood River Valley.
“And, if you can imagine, they get their own cases, and Boise gets their own cases filling up the ICUs with sick patients. Then, you know, they potentially could run out of beds, could run out of ICU beds, could run out of ventilators, and then we can get into the crisis mode where New York City is and some of these other big cities. It could happen here.”’
“You can look really well and have this virus and be giving it to other people who aren’t going to do so well… And there it goes,” he added. “You give it to one person. That person gives it to another person and so on and so on and so on. And that’s what’s happened here in our town.”
“It would be a nightmare if Twin and Boise started getting the number of cases Blaine County is seeing because there are so many more people in those towns, he said.
“And a lot more people who could be exposed and who could become ill. That would be a disaster.”
Torres’ plea comes at a time when Ketchum Fire Chief is pleading for volunteers—ski patrollers or others—to drive ambulances. Torres’ stable of paid staff members and volunteers has been decimated due to the coronavirus. The fire department has even borrowed ambulances from the City of Carey and elsewhere to keep up with the demand.
The number of cases in Ada County where Boise sits has climbed past Blaine County’s in the past few days.
Idaho reported 672 cases on Wednesday. It was the largest single-day increase, up from 527 the day before.
Despite the growing numbers in Blaine County, several Eye on Sun Valley readers reported Wednesday that the traffic through Ketchum seems to have grown, not lessened. And supermarkets are bustling.
“No spacing between people as they come in, and I was told that some people come in every day,” said one woman.
“That’s why so many people are still coming down with it. No one is paying attention to the social isolation order. They don’t think they will get it, either because they are younger or they still think it’s a hoax. Someone needs to get word to them to stop. It’s just awful.”
Another woman said she was out on a daily walk near Knob Hill Park when she saw several teens and young adults gathered there.
“I considered going up and talking to them about the importance of social distancing, but I didn’t know them and felt uncertain of my welcome,” she said. “How do we educate kids about this and what can happen if they bring it home to their families or others.”