Southern Utah COVID-19 Cases Surge, Vaccinations Decline 

Jul 22, 2021, 4:52 PM | Updated: 7:40 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Southern Utah’s current COVID-19 surge has nearly filled the Intensive Care Unit with patients at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital.  

Doctors said that it has been that way every day this month, and they’ve asked the community for their support to turn back the virus.

New COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in Southwest Utah, while vaccinations are dropping. They want to flip that equation to keep people out of the hospital, save lives, and give hospital workers some relief.

“The overwhelming majority of individuals that are testing positive are unvaccinated,” said Dr. Patrick Carroll, medical director at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital.

During a news conference Thursday, he said the ICU is more than 90% full every day, with COVID-19 and non-COVID patients. The hospital expanded the ICU for the first time in six months.

“We have not had this number of Covid hospitalizations since the third week in January,” Carroll said. “At that time, we were at a decreasing number of hospitalizations. At this point, we have an increasing number of hospitalizations.”

Doctors and nurses are still caring for patients, but not in the normal ways or places because they have had to expand care outside of the ICU.

“Our nurses are continuing to work extra hours and shifts. We’re asking a lot of them, and it’s difficult,” the medical director said. “They are doing it but they would like a break.”

On the plus side, the elderly have a high vaccination rate in the southwest Utah health district. That also means the average age of those hospitalized today is lower than it was six months ago.

“The majority of patients in the hospital are working-class age,” said Carroll. “These are people that in many cases have kids still at home.“
Community health leaders urged people who have not had a COVID-19 shot to roll up their sleeves.

“Vaccination is not perfect. But, it’s remarkably effective especially in dramatically decreasing your chances of being hospitalized or putting your life in danger,” said David Heaton, Southwest Utah Public Health Department Public Information Officer.

Right now, only 40% of the population in southwest Utah is vaccinated.

“The number one thing that has been effective is vaccination,” said Carroll. “We now have experience in our own state of 1.5 million people that have received the Covid vaccine. We have been able to demonstrate that it is effective.”

He pointed out that millions globally have received the vaccine. While no vaccine is perfect, he said the safety profile is impressive. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Utah Vaccinations

Only 50% of Utans are vaccinated and cases are surging because of the Omicron variant BA.5. FILE PH...
Jed Boal

BA.5 variant driving new surge of Utah COVID-19 cases

President Joe Biden’s positive Covid case Thursday was a sober reminder that Utah is not done fending off COVID-19 in many communities.
19 days ago
FILE (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)...

US opens COVID vaccine to little kids; shots begin this week

The U.S. on Saturday opened COVID-19 vaccines to infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The shots will become available this week, expanding the nation’s vaccination campaign to children as young as 6 months.
2 months ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)...

CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5

U.S. health officials on Saturday recommended COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots.
2 months ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
2 months ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
3 months ago
FILE (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Utah moves into ‘steady state’ of pandemic, many testing options are going away

Several major changes are coming for COVID-19 testing in Utah starting Friday, April 1. 
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Southern Utah COVID-19 Cases Surge, Vaccinations Decline