BOISE, Idaho — National Guard troops are directing people outside a Boise urgent-care clinic revamped into a facility for coronavirus patients.
Health officials say Idaho’s attempt to hold the coronavirus in check is failing as infections and deaths surge. They’ve halted elective surgeries to save bed space.
Inside Primary Health Medical Group’s clinic, physician assistant Nicole Thomas works extra 12-hour shifts. She dons protective gear to examine 36 patients a day with symptoms. Some days, she says, half test positive for coronavirus.
In a state where many citizens are resisting pandemic restrictions, overworked staff are getting sick or quitting to avoid the stress. It takes at least two days to get an appointment for a test. Primary Health officials say they’ll turn three more facilities into COVID-19 clinics by Dec. 30.
More than 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Idaho. Confirmed infections have surpassed 100,000.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
A coronavirus surge hitting much of the U.S. is threatening to overwhelm hospitals in California. Five San Francisco Bay Area counties have imposed a new stay-at-home order for their residents that will take effect Sunday. Much of the rest of the state could join this weekend. In Washington, optimism is finally building for a COVID-19 aid bill that would offer relief for businesses, the unemployed, schools and health care providers. In Moscow, thousands of doctors, teachers and others in high-risk groups have signed up for COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of a Russia-wide immunization effort, though the Russian-designed vaccine has yet to complete the advanced studies needed to ensure its effectiveness and safety.