Health care analysts say Utah close to ‘rationing’ service due to rising COVID-19 patients

Oct 26, 2020, 7:43 PM
Health care analysts say Utah close to 'rationing' service due to climbing COVID-19 patients record...
(Laura Seitz, KSL file)
(Laura Seitz, KSL file)

SALT LAKE CITY – Health officials say Utah is getting close to taking drastic measures to treat the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state.  Hospitals are considering an emergency plan, which some doctors describe as “rationing” health care. 

On Monday, there were 1,201 newly reported COVID-19 cases, which is significantly fewer than the record of 1,960 set last Friday.  Still, hospital administrators say they have nothing to be optimistic about, and they’re predicting the number of patients will exceed what they’re able to cover.

Last Thursday, officials with the Utah Hospital Association spoke with the Utah Department of Health and discussed the possibility of enacting their Crisis Standards of Care Plan, which means they would have to prioritize the more serious cases and decide which of their patients can stay in the ICUs. 

“This comes down to if there are not enough ventilators, ICU beds and care available for people,” says Utah Division of Emergency Management Spokesman Joe Dougherty.

He says Utah’s hospitals are not quite at this stage, yet, but the current trend of rising cases isn’t sustainable.

Dougherty says, “They said, ‘It’s possible, if we don’t get out of this trajectory, we will be asking the governor to invoke the Crisis Standards of Care Plan.’”

How soon could this happen?

Utah Hospital Association President Greg Bell says, “We have to think in the next week, or two, that we’re going to be at the maximum of even our contingency planning for ICU beds.”

The issue isn’t merely bed space.  Bell says the state has been able to stock the Mountain America Expo Center with extra beds in case the hospitals get too full.  However, Bell says they’re already dealing with a shortage of health care workers because of the pandemic, and they have enough trouble staffing their own hospitals.

“How can we take those teams and put them in another facility?  It doesn’t make sense,” Bell says.

According to Bell, we aren’t able to do anything about the people already infected that are expected to arrive at Utah’s hospitals.  He says the only way we can prevent the system from being overwhelmed is to limit the number of new cases by wearing masks and social distancing.


Related Links:

SLC Mayor says hospitals have reached their breaking point with rising COVID-19 patients

Two hospitals reach max ICU capacity due to COVID-19 patients

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

Today’s Top Stories


WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  The U.S. Capitol is shown as a looming government shutdown threatens ...
Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly, CNN

Defense bill likely to include end to military Covid vaccine mandate, source says

A massive bill setting defense policy is likely to end the military Covid vaccine mandate, a source familiar with the negotiations tells CNN.
1 day ago
A burrow is among the items an adopted desert tortoise needs. Photo by Utah Division of Wildlife Re...
Mia Alberti, Lianne Kolirin and Tara Subramaniam, CNN

Jonathan the tortoise, world’s oldest land animal, celebrates his 190th birthday

The South Atlantic island of St. Helena is celebrating the birthday of the world's oldest living land animal -- a Seychelles giant tortoise called Jonathan, who is turning 190.
3 days ago
The US Food and Drug Administration said it is closely working with drug manufacturers to assess a ...
Carma Hassan, CNN

Children’s painkillers in high demand as respiratory illnesses rise

The US Food and Drug Administration said it is closely working with drug manufacturers to assess the situation.
3 days ago
President John F. Kennedy signs the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Cente...
Curt Gresseth

Is forcing the homeless into treatment the answer?

NYC Mayor Eric Adams has announced a program that involuntarily treats homeless people in "psychiatric crisis." A BYU psychologist weighs the New York approach against the ethics of patient autonomy.
4 days ago
Super agers have been identified by researchers as men and women over age 80 that have the cognitiv...
Curt Gresseth

SuperAgers — who are they, are you one, and can you become one?

SuperAgers are men and women older than 80 with the mental faculties of people decades younger.
5 days ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jackson

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water released this week

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water was released Wednesday by Gov. Spencer Cox and state agencies.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Health care analysts say Utah close to ‘rationing’ service due to rising COVID-19 patients