COVID-19 remains a concern in Utah ahead of Thanksgiving

Local News

UTAH (ABC4) – As the COVID-19 pandemic nears 20 months, Utah sits in the top 10 hot spots in the country for high transmission of the virus.

Doctors at Intermountain Healthcare encourage families who are vaccinated to gather for Thanksgiving but to be cognizant of those at risk.

ABC4 spoke with one woman who’s visiting from Idaho says she’s not fully vaccinated yet, but she’s prepared to follow any house rules her family sets.

“In order for us to come down and visit our kids we get a COVID test right before we come,” says Roslyn Graham.

In Wednesday morning’s Intermountain Healthcare briefing, officials say they understand that this year many people are looking forward to gathering with family and friends. Considering that a year ago this time, many spent the holidays away from loved ones.

Dr. Brandon Webb Infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare says, “I think the first thing families ought to do is set that expectation. If you’re sick, sit this one out. We’ll bring you some turkey at home.”

But even with mass vaccinations and booster shots available, doctors at Intermountain Healthcare are feeling the pressure as COVID-19 hospitalizations remain at a very high level.

“We’re almost in a near image of where we were going into Thanksgiving last year,” says Webb.

And Utah’s death rate from the virus is in double digits. On Wednesday, the Utah Department of Health reports 13 more Utahns lives lost from the virus.

Dr. Brandon Webb says about 80% of recent deaths are among the unvaccinated. However, doctors are also seeing other underlying complications.

Webb says, “those patients have at least 4 or more chronic medical conditions such as asthma, emphysema, diabetes, obesity or heart disease.”

The uptick in cases has doctors urging the need for continued health practices, social distancing when possible, and wearing a mask.

Roslyn Graham of Idaho tells ABC4, “if our kids want us to wear masks even with the negative COVID test, we’re fine with that.”

Doctors at Intermountain Healthcare say it’s important to take responsibility for not only our health but also be mindful of your loved ones If you’re experiencing symptoms to get tested or simply stay home.

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