The decision, seen as a last resort, gives hospitals the ability to ration care if they have more patients than can be managed with available beds, equipment and staffing.
A triage team using a specific formula to prioritize patients most likely to recover has been asked to help with several patient care decisions at the Anchorage hospital.
Providence Alaska Medical Center is prioritizing care under crisis-care guidelines amid surging COVID-19 cases and short staffing, Other hospitals report equally gut-wrenching scenarios.
Providence Alaska Medical Center has implemented crisis standards of care. Meanwhile, Anchorage’s two other large hospitals are instituting new policies to address capacity problems.
Doctors say Providence Alaska Medical Center is so overwhelmed by COVID-19 they can no longer treat patients in a timely manner and now need to ration care.
Fairbanks Memorial Hospital reported two new deaths as the state listed more than 1,400 new coronavirus infections in a three-day period since Friday.
Surging cases around the state continued this week with no sign of hitting a peak as the highly infectious delta variant continues to set new records for hospitalizations.
Absenteeism among students and teachers in Mat-Su reached upward of 25% this week, and staffing problems prompted building closures at two schools.
The state on Wednesday reported 841 new coronavirus infections, one of the highest daily tallies since the pandemic began.
At Mat-Su Regional Medical Center near Wasilla, nearly half the patients had tested positive for coronavirus, prompting administrators to halt transfers and postpone some surgeries.
Hospital administrators from across the state are describing a crisis. “We are in disaster mode here,” said the CEO of Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.
Community pressure prompted the decision to share more coronavirus details at ASD, until now the state’s only large district that didn’t plan to release school-specific case updates.
The state also reported more than 600 coronavirus cases as the demand for testing overwhelmed drive-thru sites around the state.
Health authorities say getting vaccinated is still the best way to fight the spread of COVID-19, and guard against the seriously ill cases largely filling up Alaska’s hospitals.
The state reported no recent deaths on Thursday. Hospitalizations in COVID-positive patients are climbing toward the highest levels they reached over the winter.