Hospitals throughout Idaho are now allowed to ration medical care as the state expands its “crisis standards of care” criteria in the face of overwhelming coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

“The situation is dire,” Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said in a statement. “We don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident.”

The announcement expanded protocols from earlier this week that moved to begin rationing care in some overburdened hospitals dealing with the surge in covid-19 patients.

While not all hospitals may need these “last resort” measures, crisis standards of care allow them to prioritize — or potentially deny care — when faced with a shortage of resources such as ventilators, drugs and staff, based on who they think will benefit the most.

“In other words, someone who is otherwise healthy and would recover more rapidly may get treated or have access to a ventilator before someone who is not likely to recover,” the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said.

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