‘Nice to just be a doctor again’: Healthcare workers rejoice as COVID hospitalizations in Utah trend downward

Local News


MILLCREEK, Utah (ABC4) — Healthcare workers are breathing a sigh of relief as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to trend downward across Utah. In Millcreek, St. Mark’s Hospital reported two straight days with no COVID hospitalizations there.  

“We just didn’t think this day would happen especially not yet because we’ve been in the thick of it for so long,” Jennifer Jellerson Critical Care Director, St. Mark’s said.

“It was nice to just be a doctor again,” Dr. Jared Johnstun St. Mark’s medical director said. 

Two full days of no COVID patients means healthcare workers at St. Mark’s who have been working day and night fighting to keep Utahns alive were able to get some relief.

“We would watch them dwindle and watch them die it just felt like day, after day, after day, after day. It was hard,” Dr. Johnstun said.

Other hospitals in the area are also seeing this encouraging trend. As of Monday, there have been fewer than 20 COVID-19 patients in all eight Mountainstar Healthcare hospitals.

This downward trend is also happening at Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health too.

“COVID-19 patients are 10% of what they were at the height of things,” Mark Ott, medical director at Intermountain Medical Center, said.

“We were under 10 (patients) at one point, but we were over above 30 at one-point last week so we’ve had a little ups and downs,” Dr. Russell Vinik, chief medical operations officer at University of Utah Health said.       

Across the state, hospitalizations are trending down too.
           
“We’re at a fraction of what we were at when COVID-19 cases surged in November through January. We were over 40% of ICU beds and now they’re less than 10%,” Greg Bell, president and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association said.           

Many health experts believe the worst of the pandemic is behind us. However, others argue that the state could not handle another surge in COVID-19 cases.  

“If there was a surge today, we couldn’t take care of as many people as a surge that we could’ve dealt with last March, because all of that necessary care still has to be given and we can only delay it so much,” Dr. Vinik said.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are down, but our local hospitals are still busy treating other patients. Hospital officials want to make it clear that another spike in COVID-19 cases could put them in a crunch.  

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