ALL NEWS

Intermountain ICUs report 100% capacity, stretched resources

Aug 27, 2021, 9:33 AM | Updated: 10:41 am
ICU Utah capacity children COVID...
Healthcare workers care for a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. (Intermountain Healthcare)
(Intermountain Healthcare)

SALT LAKE CITY — Intermountain Healthcare announced on Friday that their ICUs have reached 100% capacity and their medical resources are being stretched.

“As of this morning, patient volumes (which includes both COVID and non-COVID patients) in Intermountain Healthcare’s ICUs is at an alarming 100% capacity, meaning that staff are continuing to have to take extraordinary measures to provide ongoing critical care/intensive care to ALL ICU patients, including non-COVID patients, such as heart attack, stroke, and trauma patients,” Intermountain said.

They said rising cases of primarily young unvaccinated people who have contracted the COVID-19 delta variant are one of the main stressors in their system right now. 

On Thursday, the Utah Department of Health reported that 463 Utahns were currently hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 185 of them were in ICUs across the state. The state of Utah has 531 ICU beds in total, and 453 of them are in “referral centers” which are more adequately prepared and staffed to handle COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 patients account for nearly 41% of the beds filled in Utah’s referral center ICUs, and the state is reporting that those hospital ICUs are at 90% capacity. 

“We’re seeing a couple of trends, the first is that our colleagues at Primary Children’s are seeing far more admissions for COVID during this phase, the Delta phase than we previously saw during other phases of the pandemic. That’s concerning,” Dr. Brandon Webb, an Infectious Diseases Physician at Intermountain said.

“We’re also noticing that there is a trend in the admissions for COVID patients on the adult side as well, there has been a decrease in the average age, and the patients who tend to be admitted, although they’re younger do have some health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, and other conditions like that. We are seeing some cases that are surprising, people who appear otherwise healthy and get severe COVID.

“That’s not the most common scenario, it is happening and when it is it’s another reminder that Delta is different, Delta is simply a different disease in some ways than the previous variants,” he continued.

Webb said that throughout Intermountain’s facilities they are able to load level and transfer patients between their hospitals to find them the best care. But despite this measure, they are still overloaded. 

He added that now they are having to make decisions about whether or not to cancel certain procedures because they can’t guarantee that there will be an ICU bed if a patient needed one after a surgery. 

Delta and kids

“We don’t have answers fully as to that question (of why more children are being affected). As best we understand, it appears because the Delta variant causes such high viral numbers, and we know that the more virus you’re exposed to the higher the likelihood the virus is to overwhelm the first lines of defense in the immune system and likely causes or could cause more severe disease,” Webb said.

“We think that might be one of the reasons why we’re seeing more severe disease in younger patients with Delta because they’re being exposed to higher amounts of virus when they come in contact with people with the Delta variant.

“That highlights one of the important points here that the mitigation measures including masking and distancing and avoiding gatherings. They decrease the number of viral particles to which one is exposed if they have an exposure. And we hope that by taking those precautions individuals can actually prevent some of those more severe cases especially in those younger populations.”

Breakthrough cases

The rising number of breakthrough cases Intermountain officials have seen was expected. 

“The number of breakthrough infections correlates very very closely with the number of fully vaccinated individuals,” he said, adding that as more people get vaccinated, the more chances there are that breakthrough cases will happen. 

“The vaccines are still very effective, but not perfect. The more individuals in the community who are vaccinated, and with this high community transmission, we are going to see breakthrough infections,” Webb said.

He added that the protections of the vaccine are still very good. Patients who are fully vaccinated and still get infected have fewer and less severe symptoms, he said, and are much less likely to end up in the hospital or die from an infection. 

 

Doctors at Intermountain will be holding a news conference at 9:30 on Friday to discuss their ICUs hitting 100% capacity. You can watch that live below.

 

 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Businesses are back open in Sugar House after a four alarm fire in October, but fire officials don'...
Alejandro Lucero

Cause of Sugar House fire could remain unknown another month

The SLC Fire Department is closing in on a cause for the Sugar House fire, but one official said it could take another month to know.
18 hours ago
making way for The Point, a guard tower is knocked down as part of the old state prison's demolitio...
Aimee Cobabe

As the old state prison goes down, development of The Point begins

The Point will take about two decades for developers to finish, but leaders in the project are optimistic that the planned community will be worth the wait.
18 hours ago
A former American Fork soccer coach is under arrest and facing six felony counts of child sexual ab...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Former American Fork soccer coach arrested on charges of child sexual abuse

The suspect arrested on charges of child sexual abuse was reportedly a soccer coach for the UC Strikers and Utah FC junior teams, between 2000 and 2014, according to American Fork Police.
18 hours ago
Christine McVie, one of the members of Fleetwood Mac, has died at the age of 79....
Lisa Respers France

Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac dead at 79

A statement from McVie's family said she'd been hospitalized with a short illness, and that her family was with her when she died.
18 hours ago
two deer are pictured gazing up along the grass, research will take a deep dive into deer this seas...
Elizabeth Weiler

DWR conducting deer research and checkups via helicopter transport

SALT LAKE CITY — Deer are plentiful in the Beehive State. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said this time of year is prime time to conduct deer research. DWR biologists are taking on a new form of research. The organization plans to capture deer and transport them via helicopter to different staging areas across […]
18 hours ago
santa claus...
Kim Passoth

More Santa’s helpers needed in this first “normal” year since pandemic

Unlike his boss at the North Pole, stand-in Santa Kevin Peachy can’t be everywhere at once. More Santa's helpers are needed!
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

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
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...
Sorenson

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 ICUs report 100% capacity, stretched resources