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Hospitals Anticipating Post-Thanksgiving Surge In COVID-19 Cases

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Hospitals are bracing for a surge in COVID-19 cases now that the Thanksgiving weekend has come to an end.

Doctors said it will be at least two to three weeks before the impact becomes clear.

“The medical system is stressed right now and I’m very concerned that over the next few weeks there’s going to be even more stress,” said Dr. Mark Oliver, the chief infectious disease physician at St. Mark’s Hospital.  “The stress is really on the health care workers when we talk about bed availability that’s a little bit of a false sense of security. Even though we may only have 90 percent of our ICU beds filled we already have employees, nurses, doctors, working overtime, working extra shifts.”

According to the state health department, there are 560 people hospitalized in Utah being treated for COVID-19. That’s 12 more than Sunday, but 21 fewer than the peak of 581 on November 26.   As a result, hospitals said they are managing the patients, but again it’s what’s to come that is the worry.

“We are at a very high hospitalization rate but it’s being managed through those contingency care measures.  The next step is going to be, are we going to have a surge within a surge, because of something like a super spreader event, like traveling during Thanksgiving,” said Dr. Todd Vento with Intermountain Health Care.

Dr. Vento added people who did travel over Thanksgiving weekend should assume they have the virus and get tested within five to seven days after getting home.

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