SALT LAKE CITY – Utah health officials on Tuesday reported a state record for the current COVID-19 hospital admissions, as well as 1,669 new cases and six deaths.
Under pressure as infection rates continue to outpace what the State of Beehive saw during the summer spike, hospital leaders and state officials continue to work to address the situation. lack of beds – not beds but the ones who could take care of the most severe patients.
“We have tackled space and supplies, but now we understand that indeed, one of the limiting factors and the critical shortage is going to be,”; said Kevin McCulley, the Utah Department’s preparation director. available personnel. of the Department of Health for Emergency Medical Services.
Currently, 366 patients are hospitalized for the disease in Utah, more than 18 more on Monday, according to the Utah Department of Health. 73.7% of the special care units were available and the 48.1% of the non-units were not.
The new record is set after a month of statistics of mountain climbing. Just a month ago, 175 cases of COVID-19 were in Utah hospitals.
ICU is located in most of the state’s largest referral hospitals – University Hospital of Utah in Salt Lake City, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray and McKay-Dee Hospital, said Greg Bell, President of the Utah Hospital Association. in Ogden – was almost full on Tuesday. The U. Health and Intermountain Medical Center added additional backup space, and service providers worked extra shifts.
But within the past two days, six patients turned down those hospitals and switched to Steward Health or MountainStar Healthcare, Bell said.
About one third of Utah residents have SelectHealth insurance, part of Intermountain Healthcare. This means that they are transferred to Intermountain hospital for pre-treatment.
“But when hospitals are inundated, it’s not something to consider and they are just moved where they can get the best care,” says Bell.
Although going to an out-of-network hospital for treatment will often cost patients more, providers who have received federal pandemic relief funding have agreed not to charge patients a larger amount. the amount required by the network provider, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Meanwhile, Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. Petersburg George and the Utah Valley Hospital in Provo still have some capacity, Bell said.
According to Bell, the state’s hospital system has about 500 ICU beds. But 50 of them are in rural areas, where providers do not have the training or resources to take care of the most severe COVID-19 patients, which means that special care is truly for those That patient is 453 beds.
Now, Bell explains, “Rural (hospitals) have been told, ‘You need to hold your seat as long as you can, but if someone is serious, give us a call and they I’ll find space as long as there’s a bed. ‘”
Hospitals in neighboring states including Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and Montana also often refer critically ill patients in need of special care to the University of Utah Hospital and Intermountain Medical Center.
“When they heard that the University of Utah or (Intermountain Medical Center) was running out – that’s their usual type of referral – made them very nervous,” said Bell.
Solve the shortage of staff
McCulley said his team is looking for nurses and other medical providers who can help if current hospital staff become overly stressed across the state.
“We have found that there is no good solution to this shortage of personnel. Just is not. We are flipping each rock to see what we can do, ”McCulley said.
Officials are trying to identify potential workers in the state, including retirees, through the Occupational and Occupational Licensing Division, nursing schools, the pre-medical corps. and volunteer groups. The state is also looking for workers outside of Utah who can help cope with the increase.
Officials are also reviewing staffing requests through federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense and the National Disaster Health System.
“And the reason we do a lot of different activities is that there really aren’t any magic bullets to find employees. It’s incredibly difficult, ”McCulley said.
The pandemic has created a unique challenge when emergencies like earthquakes tend to affect a relatively small geographic area and health-care workers can deploy there to help. But as other states are also battling the proliferation of the epidemic, Utah faces competition when it comes to trying to bring in additional resources.
“So either we try to find people from within the state, which are very few, or we look out of state. But then we are competing on a national platform, ”McCulley said.
Utah also has a young population, meaning there isn’t a huge number of retirees able to enter, McCulley noted. But due to the COVID-19 disaster, the state had the flexibility to bring in student nurses in a way that would normally not be allowed.
In the early part of the pandemic, public officials developed contingency plans for maximum use of the hospital’s available resources. One of those plans includes contracts with three skilled nursing facilities in Ogden, Salt Lake City, and St. George.
These facilities are approximately 60% to 70% complete with COVID-19 patients still ill but not requiring hospital care.
“It’s a really great safety valve,” says Bell.
But it won’t solve the spill problem for those in need of more serious care.
The Mountain America Expo Center, available through state and Salt Lake County contracts, is also an option. But who will be the employee is still unclear.
“Bed does not treat people, people rule people. So we are having trouble getting the full staffing of the ICU bed because we’ve been doing this since mid-March, ”said Bell.
“We will come in eight months these people around the clock, overtime, wear large amounts of PPE and live in ventilated paramedics. I mean it’s a heavy, tough thing, and it’s also emotionally draining of losing people and not having a family member. They are not only caregivers but also spiritual support ”.
Asked if the fairground can actually be put into use, Bell said: “It depends on how rapidly we are spike and to the extent to which our hospitals are overloaded. Then the state is trying to recruit retired people, traveling nurses and doctors, and additional personnel. And can you stand up like that if you use all the resources? I just don’t know ”.
At the same time, Bell praised the state officials “because they had the foresight and how they really tried to prepare for every situation that happened.”
1,669 new cases on Tuesday were confirmed out of 7,834 test cases, with a positive rate of 21.3%. The seven-day average for new cases was 1,726 cases per day, and the average positive test rate was 19.1%.
Currently, 119,375 cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Utah out of 1,105,427 people tested since the beginning of the pandemic – meaning that approximately 35% of the population has received at least one test, with nearly 4% of the population is positive for the disease.
“The truth is, the more tests we manage, the faster we loosen the restrictions. By skipping tests when you are exposed or feel symptoms, you can unknowingly contribute to the spread of COVID in Utah. If you meet the requirements for the check, don’t delay, ”Governor Gary Herbert said Tuesday on Twitter.
About 90,000 people are considered to have recovered from surviving three weeks after they were diagnosed.
The total number of hospital admissions since the Utah outbreak was 5,655.
The most recent deaths included two men in Salt Lake County between the ages of 65 and 84, one of whom was hospitalized upon death; a Utah County woman between the ages of 45 and 64 who used to be a long-term care resident; a Sanpete County woman aged 45 to 64 years who has been hospitalized; a Tooele County woman 65 to 84 years of age who is not hospitalized; and a Utah County man aged 65 to 84 years of age with unknown hospitalization status.
They put the state number due to the new coronavirus to 620.