Utah restricting non-urgent medical procedures

Local News

(AP Photo/Kathy Young)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Health has announced restrictions on medical, dental, and veterinary procedures that are non-urgent in order to preserve masks, gloves and other protective equipment for medical professionals assisting in the fight against COVID-19.

“I genuinely appreciate the willingness of Utah’s major healthcare systems, and many individual doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and other health providers, to act proactively to help us preserve the masks, gowns, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) that will be necessary in the coming days and weeks to protect our front-line doctors, nurses and other health workers and ensure they stay healthy and able to care for patients,” Gov. Gary R. Herbert said.

Businesses, whether in healthcare, construction, or other industries, can donate unused PPE through coronavirus.utah.gov.

“I also appreciate the patience of Utahns who were planning procedures that will now be delayed,” the governor added. “Although the term ‘elective’ indicates something that is non-essential, I realize this will still be an inconvenience, and for that I am sorry. As we look at the experiences of other states and regions of the world, it’s clear that those who are proactive in securing a supply of PPE are far better equipped when they see a surge of COVID-19 patients being admitted to hospitals.”

Dr. Joseph Miner, executive director of the Utah Department of Health, said postponing non-essential procedures is a crucial step to help our health systems reserve PPE, and other resources that are crucial in our efforts to treat patients with coronavirus.

Last week, Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health started to postpone certain non-essential medical procedures to prepare for an expected surge in patients needing hospitalization for COVID-19.

According to guidance by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, examples of elective procedures include colonoscopies, cataracts, endoscopies, and other procedures that can be delayed without endangering patients. This order is effective March 25 through April 25, 2020

The order applies to medical, dental, and veterinary procedures and will preserve personal protective equipment for treatment of COVID-19

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