Saint Johns Health sign

Following an alarming email Monday from St. John’s Health CEO Dr. Paul Beaupre informing town councilors and county commissioners that the hospital is at capacity and at risk of “being overwhelmed,” the Town Council is holding a special meeting Tuesday to discuss possible measures to help stem the rising COVID-19 tide.

Beaupre’s email painted a fairly dire picture of the current situation at the hospital, and he asked local leaders to impose restrictions similar to those seen in the spring, such as “take-out dining, slowdown of communal events, [and] NO large gatherings.”

“Our ICU is completely full, we have 3 COVID patients and 3 non-COVID patients in the ICU,” Beaupre wrote. “We have 11 other COVID patients in the hospital and 22 non-COVID patients that we are caring for. In addition, we have 35 staff members out on quarantine, 11 of those have COVID themselves. We had a child test positive for COVID in the childcare program and had to close down part of our program which resulted in additional staff needing to stay home for childcare purposes.”

“Last week we had 70 individuals test positive for COVID in a single day! These were all Teton County residents,” he wrote. “Several of our healthcare physicians and advanced practice clinicians (APCs) have tested positive further straining our ability to keep up with the healthcare demands of our community.”

Vice Mayor Hailey Morton Levinson said a return to regulations and restrictions the town saw in the spring at the onset of the pandemic is a real possibility, though she said she is “open to deliberations.”

“From the outset, I have relied on the health experts, and so that’s really why this meeting is happening tomorrow, because we’ve always been open to [what local health experts recommend] and say, ‘Hey, we will back you up,’ ” Morton Levinson said Monday afternoon.

Tuesday’s meeting is at 11 a.m. and can be viewed live on the Town of Jackson’s website.

Contact Tim Woods at 732-5911 or

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