UTAH (ABC4) – A report released on January 12 suggests that Utah is the fifth least prepared state for hospital capacity. The report, compiled and analyzed by insurance aggregate QuoteWizard, took into account total numbers of intensive care unit beds, in addition to staffing shortages and numbers of physicians in our state.

According to the report, 77% of Utah’s ICU beds are in use and 7% of hospitals are facing critical staffing shortages. ICU bed number data was collected using information from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Using additional data from the HHS, as well as from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the report also determined that there are 1.54 ICU beds per 1,000 people in Utah.

But what really is the current situation at Utah’s hospitals?

On January 5, ABC4’s Courtney Johns spoke with Utah State Epidemiologist Leisha Nolen, who said that Utah hospitals have been overwhelmed for four months.

Johns explained that there’s a difference between having enough beds and having enough staff to care for the patients in the beds. According to Johns’ reporting, the Utah Department of Health said that anything over 85% ICU capacity is enough to overwhelm the hospital system.  

According to the most current data from the Utah State Coronavirus website, Utah ICUs are at 88.7% capacity, and non-ICU beds are at 57% capacity. But these numbers apply to all patients, not just those in care for the treatment of COVID-19.

The Utah State Coronavirus website says that 715 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with 202 of those patients in the ICU. Data collected by HHS suggests that Utah has 544 ICU beds, based on 54 hospitals that have reported to the federal department.

The QuoteWizard report ranked Utah as the fifth least prepared state, after Texas, Georgia, and a tie between New Mexico and Nevada. The most prepared state was reported to be New York.