HEALTH

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.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

Polio US 2022...
The Associated Press

Polio detected in NYC’s sewage, suggesting virus circulating

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett says the detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming but not surprising.
4 days ago
Intermountain Healthcare...
Mark Jones

CEO and President of Intermountain Healthcare announces resignation

Intermountain Healthcare will soon be looking for a new CEO and President. Current, CEO and President Dr. Marc Harrison announced Thursday he will resign from the position later this year.
5 days ago
St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City. According to the Utah Hospital Association, staffing at hosp...
Martha Harris

Staffing at Utah hospitals is in a more stable place than a year ago

Staffing at Utah hospitals are at a more stable position than they were last year, according to the Utah Hospital Association. However, they still aren't at pre-pandemic levels.
7 days ago
Utah ranks one of the top ten states to have a baby, new study finds....
Waverly Golden

Study places Utah among top ten states to have a baby

According to a new study, Utah is among the top states to have a baby and has one of the lowest c-sections hospital costs.
7 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 202...
Donald Judd, CNN

President Joe Biden officially cleared to emerge from isolation following rebound Covid-19 case

 President Joe Biden was officially cleared to emerge from isolation Sunday after a second negative Covid-19 test, his physician announced.
9 days ago
Curt Gresseth

Subaru Outback outscores other midsize cars in new side-crash test

The 2022 Subaru Outback outscored six other midsize sedans in an updated side-crash test, which more accurately reflects real-world conditions than the previous test.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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