‘Breaking point’: Record number of COVID-19 patients overwhelms Utah hospitals

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah hit a record in Covid-19 hospitalizations Thursday with 389 patients currently receiving care. One frustrated physician feels like he’s fighting two battles: one against the virus and the other against all the misinformation surrounding it.

“I’d say absolutely we’re at the breaking point,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Todd Vento said. “We’re also at our wit’s end.”

With COVID-19 cases surging to a record high and intensive care units at or near capacity, Dr. Vento and his colleagues at Intermountain Healthcare are desperately trying to care for all those patients.

“We have even 20-year-olds who are being intubated, put on ventilators because they actually got Covid from exposures from individuals who thought they weren’t at risk for getting Covid and that’s the discouraging part,” Dr. Vento told ABC4 News. “Our hospitals are overrun and we’re not making a dent in the transmission. In fact, unfortunately, we have individuals who are contributing to spreading cases thinking that ‘Oh we should all get it and we’ll all be immune’. That is 100 percent incorrect. It’s scientifically invalidated.”

Dr. Vento calls that “disinformation” and says hearing reports of large Halloween dance parties with thousands of unmasked attendees “disheartening and demoralizing”.

“We need a universal mask mandate. We need everyone to commit to it and we need leadership to enforce this. We can’t have 10,000 person parties where people act like it doesn’t have an effect. We will see an effect from that two weeks later and then four weeks later we will see problems in our hospital and we will not be able to give care to individuals to the standard that they deserve,” he said. “If we continue to think that our actions of gathering with folks like it doesn’t matter and it doesn’t affect a grandmother 20 miles away, I don’t know what to do at this point. My colleagues don’t know what to do. We are begging for people to step up and take the measures to stop what’s happening in our hospitals.”

Dr. Vento says hospitals are dangerously close to entering crisis standards of care and he never wants to have to decide who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t.

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