SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – ICUs are now at 100% capacity at Intermountain Healthcare facilities. While doctors say both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients are taking up ICU beds, rising cases of the virus are stretching medical resources and staff.
Earlier this week, University of Utah Health reported its ICU has also reached 100% capacity. A majority of those patients have COVID-19, doctors say. An uptick of cases is being seen among those between the ages of five and 15. With school back in session, they fear cases could rise.
During a Friday press conference, Intermountain Healthcare Infectious Diseases Physician Dr. Brandon Webb says the rising COVID-19 cases causing a strain on medical resources and staff is fueled by the Delta variant which continues to cause severe illness, primarily among younger, unvaccinated people.
Dr. Webb says Primary Children’s Hospital is seeing more admissions for COVID-19 now during the Delta variant phase than previously seen, calling this trend “concerning.” For adult COVID-19 patients, while the average age is younger now than before, these patients have additional health problems. Dr. Webb says some of these health conditions include obesity and high blood pressure.
Still, Dr. Webb reports some of the cases are “surprising,” with patients who appear otherwise healthy getting “severe COVID.” He says this “is not the most common scenario,” but it serves as a reminder that “delta is different.”
Intermountain doctors are urging the unvaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible following the full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the FDA.