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Health care leaders hold a press conference on July 10, 2020, to advocate for wearing masks amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
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Doctors Urge Utahns To Act Together To Stop Surge Of COVID-19

Health care leaders hold a press conference on July 10, 2020, to advocate for wearing masks amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

MURRAY, Utah — Top doctors from each of the major hospital systems in Utah sounded the alarm on the serious surge in COVID-19 cases, saying Utahns need to act now to avoid maxing out hospital beds and overburdening state healthcare workers.

“We are in the eye of the hurricane. The hurricane is approaching,” said Dr. Mark Briesacher, chief physician executive at Intermountain Healthcare.

He said it’s time for everyone to act together to hold off the storm surge of COVID-19.

Medical leaders from Utah’s major hospital systems discussed the issue during a press conference on Friday. They said if Utah wants to avoid what’s happening in Florida, Texas and Arizona, they need to take personal responsibility to help protect each other.

Health care leaders address importance of mandatory masking requirements

Physicians & clinical leaders from Utah's major health care systems address importance of mandatory masking requirements to reduce transmission of COVID-19

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Friday, July 10, 2020

“We are deeply concerned about the trajectory of COVID-19 and the number of cases in our state,” said Briesacher.

The physicians and clinical leaders said they are managing the surge and have plans to handle more COVID-19 patients, but they don’t want to go there and test the system anymore.

“We are getting close to a capacity of patients that we’ve not seen or experienced before across our state and across our health systems,” said Briesacher.

“It feels as though we are heading for a disaster,” said Dr. Arlen Jarrett, chief medical officer at Steward Health. “It’s very clear that if we stay on the same path, we are going to maximize our hospitals’ capacities very soon.”

Two weeks ago, the physicians urged everyone to mask up, but many have ignored that warning.

Health officials said that needs to change, or Utah’s case numbers will continue to rise.

“We are now seeing the surge. We have seen an increase in cases that really started at the end of May and are really continuing today,” said Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, infectious diseases physician at Intermountain Healthcare.

The doctors believed we will likely continue to see an increase as cases from the Fourth of July holiday continue to emerge. That will lead to more hospitalizations and continue to put a load on state hospitals and hospital workers.

“We need the entire community of Utah to help us with this,” said Stenehjem.

They said we need to wear masks in public, arguing it should be mandated statewide.

“It’s critical to do this, along with distancing and handwashing, to keep each other safe,” said Briesacher.

The physicians said those practices of social distancing and handwashing, as well as masking up, are still as important now as any time during the pandemic.
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