ICUs are ‘at or beyond functional capacity’ with new COVID cases

Aug 3, 2021, 6:58 PM
Intermountain visitors...
FILE: Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. Photo Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY – While overall hospitalizations haven’t reached the highs we saw in months past, doctors report ICUs are just as full as they were earlier this year. Additionally, health care officials in Utah say we’ve hit a dangerous threshold in COVID-19 cases.  

Nurses with Intermountain Healthcare reported new COVID-19 patients are rotating into their emergency rooms on a steady basis. ICU Nurse Cierra England said every time they discharge a patient, there seem to be two or three more waiting in the ER. This requires a lot of manpower at a time when many hospitals are short-staffed.

England said, “We’re having to staff between 18, 19, sometimes upwards into 20 nurses every single shift,” and that’s per unit.

She says many ICU patients regret not getting the vaccine, however, others are still hesitant to get one even after they become sick. Critical Care Technician Kaydi Marshall said workers are getting more frustrated and fatigued than they were before.

“As health care workers, we went through our big surge last year and cases started to go down. It felt like we were going to start getting a break from it, and now, we’re seeing more and more cases, again,” Marshall said.

Currently, there are 367 people being hospitalized for COVID-19, and 163 of them are in intensive care.  However, since hospitals are short-staffed, they’re not able to add extra COVID units like they did last year.

Intermountain Infectious Disease Doctor Todd Vento said, “We are already at or beyond functional capacity in several of our facilities.”

Plus, there’s another problem. Vento said the uptick in cases caused by the Delta variant has created a nationwide shortage in medications like Tocilizumab, which is used to treat things like inflammation in severe cases.  However, he said there are backup treatments they can use.

Vento said, “We’ve not run out of [some] medicines we use to treat severe illness. The monoclonal antibodies, some of them, have lost their effectiveness because the Delta variant can evade some of our monoclonal antibodies.”

Vento believes it’s not a choice between wearing masks and getting the vaccine, adding that people should be doing both. He said even vaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors to limit the spread of the Delta variant.

We want to hear from you.

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

Today’s Top Stories


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.
3 days 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.
3 days 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.
3 days 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.
3 days 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.
7 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.
10 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...

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...

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
ICUs are ‘at or beyond functional capacity’ with new COVID cases