HEALTH

Doctors urge Utahns to follow COVID-19 mandates, saying hospitals are at ‘tipping point’ of being overwhelmed

Nov 9, 2020, 8:13 PM
utah icus...
(Two workers treating a COVID-19 patient at University of Utah Hospital. Credit: Charlie Ehlert, University of Utah Health, August 19, 2020)
(Two workers treating a COVID-19 patient at University of Utah Hospital. Credit: Charlie Ehlert, University of Utah Health, August 19, 2020)

SALT LAKE CITY – Hospital administrators are hoping everyone will follow the governor’s emergency mandates to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Doctors say Hospitals at the “tipping point” of becoming overwhelmed, and they believe the spread of the virus will slow down as long as people follow the emergency orders.

On Monday, state health officials announced there were 2,247 new COVID-19 cases, along with two more deaths.  That isn’t a record, but doctors are also worried the seven-day rolling average of new cases.  Utah Hospital Association CEO Greg Bell says the current rolling average is 2,437 new cases, per day.  Plus, the seven-day positivity rate has ballooned from 13.5 percent a month ago to 21.25 percent, today.

“The velocity of the spread has increased, remarkably.  It must be checked because we simply cannot the infection rate without severe consequences,” Bell says.

Doctors are very encouraged about the news from Pfizer.  The drug maker announced the early data from the results of their test show it could be 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.  However, Steward Health Care Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arlen Jarrett says it will be a while before the vaccine is available for everyone, which is why people need to follow the mandates.

Jarrett says, “Yesterday, the number of those in our hospitals was double the number we had two weeks ago, and it was five times the number we had in the hospital just two months ago.”

Officials from University of Utah Health say their facilities have become so crowded, they’ve had to cut back on non-critical surgeries.  Chief Nursing Officer Tracey Nixon says nurses are exhausted, both mentally and physically, and the virus is causing serious problems in how many patients they can treat.

“Non-COVID care is going to have to be chipped away at to make room for COVID care,” she says.

The problem isn’t having enough beds.  MountainStar Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Baumann says they have been clearing out space to make room for more beds.  However, he says people may have misconceptions about how full hospitals truly are, since they see a large number of beds not being used.

Baumann says the real issue is staffing.  So, they’re going to start using another measurement to help people understand just how busy they are.

“We’re actually moving to not only listing the physical beds, but moving to an important nuance of just how many beds do we have staffed that we can run,” he says.

 

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

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

A new study finds that reports of bad weather and air actually decrease ridership on the UTA....
Devin Oldroyd

Relief from inversion and poor air quality may be in Utah’s near future

The Beehive State is in the middle of some thick inversion and poor air quality, but relief may be on the way according to the National Weather Service.
20 hours ago
A study by Intermountain Health that spanned 40 years and sought answers about the health of people...
Simone Seikaly

Intermountain’s 40-year study provides insight into weight-loss surgery

In some cases the results from the weight-loss surgery study were expected. But at least one result could be a cause for alarm and caution.
20 hours ago
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a recall for mil...
Simone Seikaly

Check your pantry, a Conagra canned meat recall may affect you

Millions of pounds of canned meat and poultry products (mainly Vienna sausages) are involved in the Conagra recall.
20 hours ago
Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming mon...
Waverly Golden

As two federal pandemic emergency-assistance programs near an end, Cox has solutions

Two temporary federal pandemic emergency assistance programs are coming to an end in the coming months due to more job opportunities.
20 hours ago
FILE - A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at ...
Aimee Cobabe

Bill banning vaccine passports heading to Utah Senate

A bill to ban vaccine passports is heading out of the Utah House and into the Utah Senate. The bill is similar to a failed bill from 2022.
5 days ago
A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV and Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries for minors and also places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

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...
Sorenson

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...
Macey's

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
Doctors urge Utahns to follow COVID-19 mandates, saying hospitals are at ‘tipping point’ of being overwhelmed