CORONAVIRUS

Utah health care workers dealing with staffing shortages

Aug 31, 2021, 10:29 PM | Updated: Sep 1, 2021, 6:01 am

MURRAY, Utah — Utah’s health care system is overwhelmed, and for the first time during the pandemic, Gov. Spencer Cox said there were zero ICU beds available in the state.

Intermountain Healthcare officials added their voices to the warning, saying a staffing shortage is affecting the number of available ICU beds.

KSL-TV was told Tuesday by a public health employee that health care workforce shortages are real and escalating, adding that all of us will soon pay the price.

Officials with the Utah Nurses Association said they’ve seen more and more nurses dealing with mental health struggles because of the pandemic, on top of the physical stress that they already endure with their job.

“I think there is a tipping point and it has come,” said Liz Close, executive director of UNA. “Nurses are feeling disheartened, broken, abandoned, exhausted, disrespected.”

Close said other states have come to her, asking if there are nurses in Utah that could travel to help them, so this is a problem that’s happening across the country.

Public health officials said there is a way to get around overwhelming our healthcare workers.

“The single biggest thing you can do now to express your gratitude is to mask up to stop the spread of COVID-19, and after you’ve put on your mask, get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so,” said Dr. Michelle Hofmann with the Utah Department of Health.

Utah hospitals have said they have beds in the ICUs, but they don’t have the staff to always care for the patients.

They want the public to take this information seriously and protect themselves against getting COVID-19.

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Utah health care workers dealing with staffing shortages