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This state just surpassed its peak for COVID-19 ICU patients

The coronavirus continues to spread throughout the West

An employee of Doc Harper’s Tavern talks with customers while wearing a face mask in Billings, Mont.
An employee of Doc Harper’s Tavern talks with customers while wearing a face mask in Billings, Mont., on July 17, 2020. The state has seen a significant surge in ICU patients with COVID-19.
Matthew Brown, Associated Press

Montana has eclipsed its peak ICU patients from the coronavirus this week, showing the state is in the middle of a massive COVID-19 surge.

Per The Billings Gazette, Montana averaged 109.3 patients hospitalized in the ICU because of COVID-19. The peak number for the state came in November 2020 when the state averaged 94.3 COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

Some hospitals in Montana have started to consider rationing care to deal with the massive surge, according to Montana Free Press. Over the weekend, a veterans medical facility in Montana said it would accept nonveterans at its hospital to treat people with COVID-19, CNN reports.

Montana is far from the only Western state to see a coronavirus surge right now. Idaho has faced a serious coronavirus crisis in recent weeks. In response, the state enacted its “crisis standards of care” to deal with its heightened coronavirus surge, which allows the state to use more resources to give people care. The state has been asking other Western states for help, too.

As result, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, criticized Idaho’s response to the pandemic, saying Idaho’s coronavirus patients are stopping Washington state residents from getting the care they need.

“So we are calling for Idaho and the leaders there to lead and take some commonsense measures,” Inslee added. “I’m disappointed the governor of Idaho has spent more time trying to reduce protection by reducing vaccine usage instead of concentrating on this, and then clogging up my hospitals.”

Idaho Gov. Brad Little responded to the criticism, saying Washington state has seen its own COVID-19 surge in recent weeks, per The Hill.

“Governor Inslee blames Idaho, yet Spokane County and the surrounding area on his side of the border continue to be hot spots for virus activity with the lowest vaccination rates in Washington, despite Governor Inslee issuing vaccine and mask mandates,” he said in a tweet.

Regardless, Idaho is still facing a massive crisis that requires help from other Western states, even as the governor has implored for people to get the vaccine.

There’s no shortage of coronavirus cases across the country. And it’s hitting states all over the map. But the West has found itself in the middle of a COVID-19 crisis right now. Though numbers nationally may be dipping, the West is seeing new records of hospitalizations. Only time will tell when cases will dip and if the West can turn the corner on its COVID-19 crisis.