Inslee, Idaho Gov. Brad Little clash over ‘clogging’ of Washington hospitals

Sep 22, 2021, 5:42 AM | Updated: Sep 29, 2021, 3:32 pm
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (left, Office of the Governor) and Idaho Gov. Brad Little (right, Getty Images).
(right, Getty Images)

With COVID-19 rates in Idaho skyrocketing and Washington hospitals beginning to feel the impact, Governor Jay Inslee issued a plea to Idaho’s Governor Brad Little to “take some common sense measures” to fight the pandemic.

Idaho’s medical crisis is ‘becoming our problem’ in Washington

Inslee’s comments came as part of a larger interview with MSNBC, where he said he was “disappointed the governor of Idaho has spent more time trying to reduce protection by reducing vaccine usage instead of concentrating on (common sense measures), and then clogging up my hospitals.”

All of Idaho recently went into crisis standards of care, a medical designation typically issued during a disaster event when there are not enough resources to care for everyone with serious medical needs.

That’s meant an additional burden on Washington, which is required by federal law to accept out-of-state hospital patient transfers if space is available. With Washington already dealing with its own issues finding room for patients needing to be transferred from its smaller hospitals to larger facilities, Idaho’s COVID crisis has quickly become a multi-state emergency.

“Washington citizens in many cases cannot get heart surgery, cannot get cancer surgery that they need, because we are having to take too many people of unvaccinated nature and unmasked, many of whom come from Idaho, and that’s just maddening, frankly,” Inslee said.

How would crisis standards of care be enacted in Washington?

Other health officials have been similarly critical, with Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer imploring Idaho to “do more.”

“They should have a mask mandate, they should be canceling large events,” Sauer said in a recent briefing. “They are not doing what they need to do to prevent the spread of the disease in their state, and it spills over into our state.”

Idaho has faced criticism for its relatively lax COVID restrictions throughout the pandemic, having opted against mask and vaccine mandates. That’s all culminated in a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the entire nation. Despite that, Gov. Little pointed to “hot spots for virus activity” and low vaccination rates in Spokane County in a response to Inslee issued on Monday.

Spokane County — which has been among the Eastern Washington counties receiving Idaho’s overflow hospital patients — currently has 47% of its total population fully vaccinated. Idaho’s total vaccination rate as a state is just under 41%.

Local News

Kshama Sawant recall...
Hanna Scott

Strong turnout for Sawant recall vote ahead of Tuesday deadline for District 3 ballots

As of Sunday night, 36-percent of voters in Seattle’s District 3 had turned in their ballots in the recall election of City Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
10 hours ago
Washington vaccine mask mandates, wa verify...
Stephanie Klein

Vaccine verification to expand to small restaurants, bars in King County

Proof of vaccination will be required at small restaurants and bars in King County on Monday.
1 day ago
MyNorthwest Staff

‘Mixed bag’ for snow across Western Washington on Monday

Light snow has been falling in parts of Western Washington on Monday morning, although sightings have varied.
2 days ago
Stephanie Klein

3 cases of Omicron found in Washington state

The Department of Health has confirmed there are three cases of Omicron in Washington state. 
2 days ago
Stephanie Klein

I-5 in Marysville reopens after police activity

Traffic was backed up for miles on northbound I-5 through Marysville for police activity Saturday morning.
2 days ago
Kshama Sawant recall, threatening emails...
Hanna Scott

Elections office fielding complaints from both sides over Sawant recall ballot

Voters in District 3 decide one of the biggest political decisions Seattle has faced in recent history when they choose whether to recall City Councilmember Kshama Sawant on Tuesday.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Inslee, Idaho Gov. Brad Little clash over ‘clogging’ of Washington hospitals