SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – COVID-19 cases are spiking in Utah, overwhelming local hospitals with new patients.
In the past 24 hours, the state saw the most new COVID-19 cases in six months and Intermountain Healthcare says their ICUs are filling up.
Doctors worry the Delta variant – the one fueling this surge – could be more contagious than originally believed.
“I am real concerned,” Dr. Eddie Stenehjem says. “We are at a point where our hospitals are yet again full. We are over that 85 percent capacity benchmark, and we know that if you are running a hospital at 90% capacity things are not as efficient.”
The state reported 1,113 new cases Thursday. Intermountain Healthcare says it is the highest one-day total since February 17, 2021.
As doctors encourage all eligible Utahns to get the vaccine, Biotech released new data showing the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy over the past six months has dropped from 96% to 84%.
“Because of that trend, they have been investigating booster shots. This is essentially a third dose of the same vaccine,” Dr. Stenehjem explains.
Currently vaccines are not mandatory, but doctors are looking at ways to encourage all Utahns to get the shot.
“Share personal stories of why it’s important to us that our community members get vaccinated,” Dr. Stenehjem states.
A reminder, unvaccinated individuals must be responsible and wear a mask in high transmission areas.