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Health Care Officials Caution Thanksgiving Could Be COVID-19 Super Spreader Event

Intermountain Healthcare officials warned regardless of holiday precautions, the COVID-19 surge will continue for the next few weeks. (KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Intermountain Healthcare physicians on Wednesday cautioned Utahns about gathering for Thanksgiving, saying the holiday has the potential to be a super spreader event.

Doctors pleaded again with residents adhere to recommendations to mask up and gather only with those living in their immediate household.

They emphasized that a surge in new cases could overwhelm hospitals, and they reminded Utahns that even if there are enough ICU beds available, there won’t be the staff to care for the patients. The state’s threshold for quality care in ICUs is 85% occupancy. The ICU beds in the state’s 16 hospitals best equipped to treat COVID-19 patients are 86.2% full as of the most recent report.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Eddie Stenehjem said those numbers have come down slightly in recent days, but the trends are at an all-time high in Utah.

“It’s been approximately two weeks since the governor’s announcement reducing social interactions outside of your home, mandatory masks, and also decreasing extracurricular activities,” he said. “These appear to be helping.”

Stenehjem said there’s been a decrease in test positivity rate and a possible plateau in cases.

“All of these things are good news, however, it does not help us tomorrow for our Thanksgiving holiday because we continue to see very high community transmission,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

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