‘Worn out, tired, and frustrated’: Utah healthcare workers prepare for more COVID hospitalizations

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – With more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19, doctors, and nurses are preparing for a surge in hospitalization cases. Doctors with the University of Utah Health say they don’t have the staff to create additional intensive care units to meet the demand because staffing is becoming an issue.

“Our staff is really worn out, tired, and they are frustrated,” says University of Utah Health Dr. Russell Vinik.

The doctors, nurses, and aids are getting ready to put in more than 80 hours a week trying to take care of Utah’s COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Vinik is concerned with the roughly 800 to 1,100 new cases of COVID each day.

When asked if we are looking at more hospitalizations soon, he responded, “Absolutely, defiantly expecting more hospitalizations.”

The doctor says a few months ago they were down to eight patients dealing with COVID-19. In the past week, there are more than 40.

“This is really a disease of the unvaccinated,” he says.

Because of the mutations within the Delta variant, Dr. Vinik says the vaccines are about 80% effective.

“This is still a great vaccine, and just because it’s a little bit less effective now than what it was six to nine months ago is a terrible reason to avoid getting the vaccine. It can and will save your life,” says the doctor.

With the rise in cases, Dr. Vinik says, “Up to 30% of healthcare providers are considering leaving the workforce. They are tired.”

He says this eventually will affect other medical procedures.

“It is competitive out there, and certainly, people can go work for Amazon or whatever area and potentially have a less stressful job,” Dr. Vinik adds.

And it is something doctors wish won’t happen because of Utah’s recent spike in COVID cases.

Dr. Vinik says to help medical professionals out, Utahns should get a COVID-19 vaccine, and if you’re unvaccinated to wear a mask while in public. The doctor also recommends vaccinated Utahns to wear a mask in indoor settings until numbers lower again.

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