Utah hospitals feel more strain with rising COVID-19 infection rates

Oct 12, 2020, 7:00 PM
Utah hospitals feel more strain with rising COVID-19 infection rates...
(A new COVID-19 testing facility at the University of Utah. Credit: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News, Oct 12, 2020)
(A new COVID-19 testing facility at the University of Utah. Credit: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News, Oct 12, 2020)

SALT LAKE COUNTY – A rising rate of COVID-19 infection and a high number of new daily cases have hospital administrators very worried about being able to keep up with demand.  Some health industry insiders say they’re doing what they can to make sure people get the treatment they need, but there is only so much they can do.

On Monday, state health officials announced 988 new additional cases of COVID-19, with five more deaths.  The rolling seven-day positivity rate is 13.9%, although there have been multiple days where the rate of positive cases reached over 20%.  Officials also say there have only been two days in October, so far, where there were fewer than 1,000 new cases per day.

Over the weekend, Utah reached a record number of hospitalizations.  As of Monday, there were 249 people in hospitals across the state, and The Deseret News reports University of Utah Hospital is close to 100% capacity.

It isn’t just the high number of infections that have officials at the Utah Hospital Association worried.  President Greg Bell says they’re especially concerned about the high rates of infection in older people.

He says, “Hospitalization increases with age.”

The problem isn’t necessarily bed space.  Bell says hospitals can transfer infected patients to other facilities that aren’t so crowded.  Plus, there are beds currently available at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy, but Bell says they’d rather not use them.

“Even though it’s outfitted, it’s not staffed.  As one of our doctors says, ‘People take care of patients.  Beds don’t,’” he says.

According to Bell, administrators are having a tough time ensuring their doctors, nurses and other workers are healthy since many of them are sickened with COVID-19, themselves.  He says health care companies can bring in workers from other states, if necessary, and many of them are looking into doing that.

“We’re looking at other measures to bring in temporary nurses, retired nurses and out of state nurses,” Bell says.  “If other places aren’t surging, then that’s possible.  Unfortunately, most states are surging, right now.”

According to the researchers at Statista, Utah has the 17th highest rate of infection across the country.  New York and New Jersey, which were once considered to have the highest rates in the country, are ranked 22nd and 23rd, respectively.

Today’s Top Stories

COVID-19: Vaccine Watch

A sign reading "immunizations" hangs over a desk. COVID-19 vaccines Utah...
Samantha Herrera

Where to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider for children 5 and under in Utah

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children as young as 6 months old, but where can you find a vaccine provider for your child in Utah?
8 days ago
A child is comforted after getting his COVID-19 vaccine....
Samantha Herrera

More COVID-19 vaccines ordered in Utah for children as young as 6 months

32,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months and older have been ordered by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.
9 days ago
This combination of 2022 and 2020 file  photos shows logos for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control...

Marathon US hearings to decide fate of COVID shots for tots

On Wednesday, both Moderna and Pfizer will argue their case. Each company aims to offer a different dose and number of shots.
21 days ago
FILE - A vial of the Phase 3 Novavax coronavirus vaccine is seen ready for use in the trial at St. ...
LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press

New vaccine may be option for troops with religious concerns

At least 175 active duty and reserve service members have received the Novavax vaccine. Some have traveled overseas at their own expense to get it.
22 days ago
utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
29 days ago
COVID-19 vaccine...

Opponents of federal vaccine mandate seek rehearing

Mr. Biden issued an order Sept. 9 that more than 3.5 million federal executive branch workers undergo vaccination, with no option to get regularly tested.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Utah hospitals feel more strain with rising COVID-19 infection rates