There are now more Utahns in intensive care units than there are staffed beds, according to state reports
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More people are now being treated in intensive care units in Utah hospitals than there are manned beds available – as cases of COVID-19 in the state remain on a plateau after peaking in early September, according to the Utah Department of Health.
“We’re still in the thick of it,” said Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease doctor at Intermountain Healthcare, on Friday of the pandemic.
The intensive care units in all of Utah’s hospitals have a capacity of 100.8% – with 525 patients in intensive care units occupied by 521 beds, the state Department of Health reported on Friday.
In larger hospitals, known as “referral hospitals”, intensive care units have a capacity of 102.7%, treating 453 patients in 441 occupied beds. That is the second highest capacity since the beginning of the pandemic.
The state health department reported that 45.3% of patients in intensive care beds with COVID-19 are hospitalized.
According to UDOH spokeswoman Charla Haley, ICU capacity can exceed 100% when healthcare workers are caring for more patients than usual – for example, when a nurse treats three or four patients while the hospital usually assigns two nurses per patient.
At Intermountain Healthcare alone, according to Stenehjem, the utilization of intensive care beds in the larger hospitals in the system is 99% and in all hospitals in the system it is 98%.
As a result, surgeons are delaying increasingly important procedures for non-coronavirus patients – including those with stroke and heart disease, Stenehjem said.
“Complex vascular operations, heart operations – they need beds in the intensive care unit after their operation,” said Stenehjem in Intermountain’s COVID-19 community briefing on Facebook Live. “Due to our capacity problems, we can no longer offer these operations because we cannot provide the safe and effective care that these patients need after the operation. We just don’t have the space for that. “
Stenehjem emphasized that the delayed interventions are ‘not due’ surgeries, but not elective surgeries. Under no circumstance. I mean, people who have strokes because of a blood clot in their arteries or have blockages in their heart – they need these surgeries. But unfortunately we cannot offer them at the moment because there is no way to maintain them. “
According to the state Department of Health, an additional 2,524 Utahners were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 last day, bringing the total to 1,706,555 – 52.2% of the total Utah population.
The Ministry of Health announced that eleven more Utahner died of COVID-19 last day. One person who died was between 25 and 44 years old; two were between 45 and 64 years old.
The Ministry of Health also reported 1,637 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total number of registered cases nationwide since the pandemic began to rise to 520,190. The 7-day rolling average for positive tests is 1,424 per day.
Children in grades K-12 made up 362 of the new cases announced on Friday. In children aged 5 to 10 years, 187 cases were reported; 77 cases in children 11-13; and 98 cases in children between the ages of 14 and 18.
In the past four weeks, unvaccinated Utahners were 15.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to an analysis by the Ministry of Health. The unvaccinated were also 12.1 times more likely to be hospitalized and 6.8 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus.
Vaccine doses administered / total doses administered during the previous day • 9,282 / 3,548,335.
Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,706,555.
Cases reported on the previous day • 1,637.
Deaths reported on the last day • 11.
Four of the dead were from Sanpete County: one woman and three men, all between 65 and 84 years old.
UDOH also reported that two men between the ages of 45 and 64 have died – one from Cache County, the other from Salt Lake County.
Also among the dead: a Utah County man, 25-44; a woman from Washington County, 65-84; and three men 65-84 – one from Juab County, one from Uintah County, and one from Weber County.
Hospital stays on the previous day • 572. That is five more than reported on Thursday. Of those currently hospitalized, 238 are in intensive care – four more than reported on Thursday.
Percentage of positive tests • According to the original state method, the rate is 15.9% over the last day. That’s higher than the 7-day average of 15.4%.
The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same person. Tuesday’s rate was 8.6%, above the 7-day average of 10.2%.
[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]
Total numbers so far • 520,190 cases; 2,994 deaths; 22,662 hospital stays; 3,526,903 people tested.