SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Experts expect Utah to reach 3,000 total COVID-19 deaths at some point next week.
Doctors say it’s a sad reality because many of the deaths are preventable through vaccination.
More than half a million Utahns have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, and the state is 131 deaths away from hitting 3,000 total deaths, according to state data.
“More than 90 percent of the patients with COVID in the ICU are unvaccinated,” says Intermountain Healthcare Infectious Disease Doctor Brandon Webb. He says this is a stat medical professionals wish not to repeat.
“This could be a viral winter, the likes of which we haven’t seen before because of the presence of SARS-COV2 and RSV, and Influenza,” the doctor adds.
Dr. Webb says 35 percent of all cases they are seeing are in people younger than 24.
“We don’t expect to see a leveling off in the hospitalization rate for weeks after we see changes in the community transmission rate, and that’s what our numbers are projecting right now is that our hospitalizations will remain stable and overwhelming through October,” he says.
Plus, there is another tool available.
The CDC and FDA approving Pfizer booster shots for frontline workers, people with underlying conditions, those over the age of 65, or those living in long-term care facilities.
The Davis County Health Department tells ABC4 officials will begin issuing shots on Monday.
And, those over 12 will need proof of full vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of an event or a Jazz game at Vivint Arena.
Utah’s State Epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen applauds the move saying, “It’s really a good idea to do something like this. Testing and vaccination approach because it really protects their fans. It protects everybody in the audience. And that’s really important to keep this under control, and it’s a great practice.”
Health officials say cases are leveling off in counties with the highest vaccination rates.
Doctors add they are still working on getting Utahns their first shot because vaccinations are a way to help end this pandemic.