Intermountain Healthcare adding 200 more nurses

Nov 12, 2020, 9:21 AM | Updated: 3:28 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah continues to see a surge in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Intermountain Healthcare is calling in more nurses to help.

Intermountain said it is are hiring nearly 200 traveling nurses to keep staffing levels up across its hospital system. And 31 of those nurses are here from New York-Presbyterian Hospital. They are here returning the favor after Intermountain sent nurses to New York City to help with its surge in April. 

Nurses from New York’s Northwell Health System were also here in August.

Intermountain’s hospital system is also adding ICU and medical/surgical beds, and allocating resources to optimize facilities. They say it’s part of their surge plan they developed more than eight months ago.

Utah’s surging case counts

The Utah Department of Health said there are now 446 Utah patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 40% of those hospitalized patients are in ICUs.

During the spike in cases during the past two months, the Health Department reported a 400% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

The ICUs at Utah’s 16 main hospitals that are considered referral centers for patients with COVID-19 are now on the cusp of being functionally outstaffed of ICU beds. Right now, they are at 82% utilization. 

“That’s really getting to the point where we’re going to have a significant problem on our hands,” said Tom Hudachko, director of communications for the Utah Department of Health. “Once we start to see that reaching 85 to 87 percent, we’ve essentially maxed out because even though you’re not at 100%, it becomes an issue of staffing as well.” 

Dr. Todd Vento, an infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare, said that if trends don’t start decreasing, medical staff may have to move to crisis standards of care.

“Pretty soon, you actually have to start looking at the possibility that you will not be able to provide that level of care for someone who possibly is dying because it will take so many resources — that it will take away from one, two, three other patients,” he said.

During one of Utah’s last spikes in COVID-19 cases when ICU utilization was at 77%, Dr. Mark Briesacher, chief physician executive at Intermountain Healthcare, said the issue always comes back to having enough trained professionals.

“Beds don’t treat people,” he said. “People treat people.”

During a Zoom news conference on Thursday morning, doctors, and nurses will discuss Intermountain’s surge plans. Nurses from New York will also discuss what it’s like working in the ICU caring for COVID-19 patients and why they are in Utah to help. You can watch that news conference below.


Today’s Top Stories

All News

Frontier Airlines...
Ramishah Maruf, CNN

Frontier Airlines no longer has a customer service phone line

Customers who need flight information or want to make changes to travel plans can no longer call Frontier Airlines and speak to an agent, the company confirmed to CNN Saturday.
1 day ago
On Saturday, two German soccer fans told CNN that they were asked by security officials at Qatar 20...
Ben Church, CNN

World Cup: Soccer fans stopped by security officials for wearing rainbow-colored items as LGBTQ+ rights issue won’t go away at Qatar 2022

The World Cup is well underway in Qatar, but issues surrounding LGBTQ+ rights for the Gulf state won't go away.
1 day ago
Mountain Green Fire Protection District said neighbors reported a burning trash can next to a home ...
Waverly Golden

Trash can on fire at home in the Cottonwoods, safely extinguished

Mountain Green Fire Protection District said neighbors reported a burning trash can next to a home in the Cottonwoods on Nov. 25. 
1 day ago
The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
1 day ago
Image of the fatal crash in Draper on 11/25/22 (Photo courtesy of Utah DPS)...
Chandler Holt

Crash on I-15 in Draper leaves one dead

A Jeep and Toyota Tundra were involved in a crash late Friday night in Draper. The two vehicles were traveling in adjacent lanes on I-15 near 14100 South.
1 day ago
Bodycam video released by authorities shows the good Samaritan trying to help the man on the tracks...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Good Samaritan and NYPD officers rescue man from subway tracks moments before train arrives

A man was rescued from the New York subway tracks by good Samaritan and police just moments before a track arrived.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Intermountain Healthcare adding 200 more nurses