How COVID-19 is impacting Utah hospitals

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Health released information on hospital bed and ventilator use. This is the first time we’re getting a look at the data since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

According to data on the state health department’s COVID-19 dashboard, 61.9% of the states intensive care unit beds are occupied, 50.5% of non-ICU hospital beds are filled, and 197 of the state’s 1,298 ventilators are being used.

“Right now I’m concerned. I would say the hospitals are concerned but not alarmed,” said Greg Bell, President and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association.

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“Our COVID patients are only taking about 11-12% of the beds,” Bell told ABC4 News. “The rest of those patients are heart attack, transplants, trauma, kidney failure — the normal intensive care patients.”

Bell said Utah’s hospitals are about two-thirds full, but not with COVID-19 patients, but if hospitals did reach capacity, Bell added, they would utilize auxiliary ICU facilities.

“We have extra vents and beds that are properly outfitted with all the equipment, the oxygen, etc., etc. But at some point obviously, you can outstrip the staff, you can outstrip the facilities, so, we need to be careful. It’s a wakeup call — these increased infection rates.”

Utah’s rate of COVID-19 increase has been on a steady rise for two weeks.

“It shows that people aren’t doing the precautions that we need to do to contain this disease,” Bell said.

The president and CEO said to stop infection vulnerable populations need to stay home, people must practice social distancing, and wear a mask in public.

Hospital numbers are a lagging indicator. The numbers are seven to 10 days behind infection.

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