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Doctors Plead With Utahns To Not Gather For Holidays To Help Avoid Care Rationing

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The 16 hospitals in the state that are best equipped to care for COVID-19 patients are being pushed beyond their limits.

According to the latest numbers from the Utah Department of Health, those ICUs are 91.9% full. The threshold for quality care is 85% occupancy.

Facilities across the state have been implementing surge capacity protocols. Now, hospitals are having to face the harsh reality of possibly having to ration care for patients.

Doctors said Utah’s health care workers have managed to help keep the state’s COVID-19 mortality rate low, but that could change if they need to implement crisis standards of care. 

Crisis care means health care officials would be tasked with deciding who gets care if there aren’t enough resources to care for every patient.

“If we get to that step, that means we failed,” said Dr. Todd Vento with Intermountain Healthcare. “We failed as a community. We failed in all ways because we didn’t prevent the transmission in our communities and it came to our hospitals.

He urged Utahns to help prevent having to get to that stage by celebrating Thanksgiving with only the people in their immediate households.

This is not the year to gather for the holidays, he said.

“This is the time to really listen to the public health experts and say, ‘We can prevent a terrible December and January by not doing the things that we would normally do,'” said Dr. Todd Vento with Intermountain Healthcare. “Don’t gather.”

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