LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – As COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the state, the need for more vaccinated communities is top of mind for many. Especially as the long Pioneer Day Holiday weekend comes to a close.
Dr. Taki May said Logan Regional Hospital has had a high volume of patients recently and is worried about COVID-19 case counts continuing to rise.
“We remember what it was like when it was really bad and I fear that we’re headed there again,” Dr. May says.
Dr. May said it has been a rough 18 months for frontline workers who have had to take care of COVID patients without a significant break. Now, she said they are dealing with a staffing shortage as many nurses moved into other areas of healthcare, gone back to school, and even left the profession.
As Utah continues to see more COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, many are frustrated knowing this can be prevented.
“I know that those patients with COVID-19 that I have taken care of…they recognize now that the vaccine would’ve been an opportunity for them,” Dr. May explains.
“The thing that is the most frustrating is unlike last school year, we have an answer to most of these concerns and that’s vaccination…but it relies on individual choice,” Utah Department of Health public information officer Jenny Johnson says.
According to the Utah Department of Health’s website, 19 out of Utah’s 29 counties have a ‘very high rate’ meaning there is over 200 cases reported in the past 14 days per 100,000 people. To date, 51.5% of all Utahns received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 45.8% are fully vaccinated.
With school just weeks away and kids 12 and younger still not eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine many health experts are worried about the timing of this recent surge.
“I am worried about the kids going back to school with the vaccine not being available to them because they’re not great at hand hygiene, they like to share things…including germs. I think it’s a good idea to have kids masked,” Dr. May expresses.
Under Utah law, school districts can’t require kids to wear masks. However, the Utah Department of Health said they recommend those who are not fully vaccinated to wear one.
“I can tell you from working the weekend, the patients we’re seeing in the hospital are younger and healthier than what we saw last Spring,” Dr. May shares.