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Photos show Army personnel caring for COVID-19 patients at Kootenai Health

FEMA requested 60 military medical personnel to be deployed in three 20-person teams to Idaho, Arkansas and Alabama to help treat patients with COVID-19.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requested a 20-person team from the U.S. Army North to help care for patients with COVID-19 at Kootenai Health in North Idaho. 

The military medical personnel include nurses, respiratory therapists and medical doctors. They also sent additional teams to Arkansas and Alabama.

According to a press release from the U.S. Army North, under U.S Northern Command’s oversight, the teams will provide operations of the active-duty military COVID-19 response in support of federal efforts and the states.

Kootenai Health started seeing patients in its Health Resource Center on Monday as the state transitioned into Crisis Standards of Care in North and Central Idaho. It can accommodate up to 22 patients, according to the hospital. Separate rooms in the Health Resource Center are also being used to provide monoclonal antibody therapy to COVID-19 patients who are not hospitalized.

The hospital is caring for the largest number of COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began, with 113 total and 39 in critical care as of Tuesday. Nineteen patients are on ventilators. North Idaho is the first region to put crisis standards in place, although doctors in the Treasure Valley have warned repeatedly that those extreme measures could be put in place statewide if Idahoans do not act to stem the tide of infections. More than 95% of COVID-19 patients in Idaho hospitals are unvaccinated.

These are photos shot by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Lehman and Sgt. Kaden Pitt of the U.S. Army North. They show Army personnel supporting efforts to care for COVID-19 patients at Kootenai Health.