HEALTH

Utah House Speaker: More vaccinated will ease hospital strain

Sep 8, 2021, 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:53 pm
vaccine mandate...
FILE: Epidemiology nurse Amy Carter tells the Weber-Morgan Board of Health that COVID cases among school-age children are rising, while opponents of mask mandates wait for their turn to speak. (Photo: Weber-Morgan Health Department)
(Photo: Weber-Morgan Health Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — The man who leads the Utah House of Representatives doubts we’d be talking about mask mandates or returning power to health departments, as some Democrats would like to see, if more people would get vaccinated for COVID-19. 

Related: Utah House Democrats “frustrated” over COVID-19 surge

House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, told KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic Wednesday that a large majority of those hospitalized in Utah with COVID-19 are not vaccinated. 

Wilson: More Utah residents need to get vaccinated

“You know, the whole reason that we’re having the conversation about masks or, or any of this, at this point, really, is just to make sure that we don’t tip over our healthcare system,” Wilson said. “And we’ve got close to 500 people right now in Utah hospitals — 90% of those are not vaccinated, and I understand people can make their own choice, and that’s, that’s fine. But, boy, it’s, it’s just kind of worrisome that we have this opportunity out there for people to avoid being in the hospital.” 

Asked about increasing capacity for hospitals, Wilson said lawmakers will work on increased funding. But he said hiring more health care workers could prove tricky in the current environment.

“They’re kind of at the end of their ropes in many ways, they’re leaving healthcare in record numbers, because it’s been so difficult and hard,” he said. “And you add to that, and you can hear this in their voices, the frustration that they have that 90% of the people that they’re treating in the hospitals and in the ICUs are not vaccinated. They’re just — they’re just worn out.” 

In the meantime, he suggested Utahns take a dual approach to ease the burden on Utah hospitals: become vaccinated, and make good choices. 

“I’ll give you an example. We had a family party scheduled for last weekend with a couple of individuals that are vaccinated but they’re over 70. And almost all the breakthrough cases that we see are in that population, that are over 70,” he said.

They’ll try again later instead, he said. 

Don’t expect a return of statewide mask mandates

In response to calls for mask mandates, Wilson pointed out some communities have instituted their own versions as outlined by state law.

“And so that’s the process that’s sort of playing out right now,” he said. “You see mask requirements, for example, in schools in Grand County, and that was done in collaboration with elected officials and the health department there. Same thing in Summit County. And it’s playing out in other health departments across the state, they’re trying to find the right solutions for them.” 

He did not expect that process to change. In his view, decisions about mask mandates should come from local health departments and elected officials rather than the state.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.
  • Seek out the COVID-19 vaccine.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Today’s Top Stories

Health

Turkey and cattle farms near Moroni, Utah. Three additional cases of avian influenza have been conf...
Mark Jones

Three additional cases of avian influenza confirmed in Sanpete County

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Friday that three additional cases of avian influenza have been confirmed on turkey farms in Sanpete County.
3 days ago
A sign for the Food and Drug Administration is seen outside of the headquarters in July 2020 in Whi...
Jacqueline Howard, CNN

ALS drug gets FDA approval despite uncertainty about effectiveness

The US Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment for ALS on Thursday.
3 days ago
university of utah...
Mark Jones

University of Utah Health among the nation’s top 10 for 13th year in row

The 2022 Vizient Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award has ranked University of Utah Health in the top 10 for the 13th straight year.
4 days ago
intermountain healthcare...
Mark Jones

Name change coming to Intermountain Healthcare next year

In 2023, Intermountain Healthcare will change its name to Intermountain Health.
6 days ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
6 days ago
Lincoln Beach pictured. Two shooting at Utah Lake happened near this beach....
Simone Seikaly

Utah County Health issues warning about harmful algal blooms

Utah County officials have detected high levels of harmful algal blooms at multiple Utah Lake marinas and beaches.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Utah House Speaker: More vaccinated will ease hospital strain