The sign leading to the emergency room at Dixie Regional Medical Center seen on February 13, 2020 in St. Louis. George, Utah. | Photo by Chris Reed
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) ̵
It was headed by St. George, who with 53 had the most new infections in the state for cities with less than 100,000 people on Saturday, according to the Utah Department of Health.
The University of Utah Health had to set up extra ICU beds staffed with doctors and nurses working overtime to take care of its critical patients this week as the unit hit 104% capacity, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Russell Vinik.
“We have cut down where we can, but it is uncertain,” he said. “We are very concerned about the flu season, especially if people are not vaccinated. We can not take another hit. ”
The number of residents in southern Utah hospitalized with the virus fell, according to Saturday Southwest Utah Public Health Department. In the last few days, however, the Dixie Regional Medical Center, which also handles COVID-19 patients beyond southern Utah, has had more total coronavirus patients than the number of ICU beds in the facility.
Nevertheless, Dixie Regional spokeswoman Terri Draper said the hospital has still not activated its wave ICU that will expand available intensive care units from 32 to 89.
“No, we have not expanded to a rising ICU. But health resources across the country are strained at this time due to markedly rising COVID-19 cases and subsequent hospitalizations, increasing the number of high-risk patients in our ICUs, ”Draper said. “It is important to remember that we continue to care for many non-COVID patients who also need high levels of ICU care.”
Draper said the doctors, nurses and other nurses at the hospital need help from the community.
“Again, we encourage society to stand with us, mask, social distance appropriate, wash hands often and stay home if they are sick,” Draper said. “Our caregivers and patients throughout the community need your support to reduce the transmission of this virus.”
Health officials again reported near-record levels of new cases of coronavirus across Saturday, which they say means admissions could continue to rise.
Utah health officials reported nearly 1,500 new cases on Friday and another 1,340 on Saturday, a number that Gary Herbert’s government called “sober” during a week-long rise in new cases. Herbert again encouraged people to wear masks and practice social distance.
Doctors like Vinik are also concerned about the impending holiday season, where cold temperatures combined with more people gathering indoors could mean a further spread of the pandemic. Hospitals across the country had a capacity of 73%.
Herbert has not issued a statewide mandate, but earlier this week he unveiled a new plan that automatically requires facial coatings in counties with high transmission and for the next two weeks, masks have been mandatory in counties of Washington, Iron and Garfield. Herbert warned Friday that more areas could be subject to new restrictions if the case counter was not brought under control.
“This is crucial to ensure that our healthcare system is not overwhelmed,” Herbert said in a statement.
St. George News Weekend Editor / Reporter Chris Reed contributed to this story.
COVID-19 information resources
St. George News has made every effort to ensure that the information in this story is accurate at the time it was written. However, as the coronavirus situation and science continue to evolve, some data may have changed.
We invite you to check the resources below for updated information and resources.
The number of coronaviruses in southern Utah (as of October 17, 2020, averaging seven days in parentheses)
Positive COVID-19 tests: 5,252 (61.4 new infections per day in seven days, decreasing)
- Washington County: 4,145 (50.5 per day, declining)
- Iron County: 870 (6.6 per day, ascending)
- Kane County: 93 (0.7 per day, up)
- Garfield County: 82 (1.9 per day, declining)
- Beaver County: 62 (1.6 per day, declining)
Deaths: Dead: 45 (0.6 per day, decreasing)
- Washington County: 38
- Iron County: 3
- Garfield County: 3
- Kane County: 1
Hospitalized: 23 (dropper)
Current 7-day average in Utah: 1,222 (ascending)
Southern Utah High Transmission Counties (Masks Required, Collections of 10 or Less): Garfield (18.1% positive tests, 472.4 per 100,000 case rate)
Southern Utah counties in moderate transmission level (masks required, collections up to 10 or less until October 29): Washington (12.6% positive tests, 327.9 per 100,000 case rates), Iron (8.3% positive tests, 153.5 per 100,000 case rates)
Southern Utah counties in low transmission (masks recommended, collections up to 50 or less): Beaver (7.1% positive tests, 197.6 per 100,000 case rates), Kane (6.5% positive tests, 90.8 per 100,000 case rates)
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