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Intermountain postponing non-urgent surgeries due to spike in COVID hospitalizations

SALT LAKE CITY — Officials with Intermountain Healthcare announced all non-urgent surgeries and procedures requiring hospital admission or postoperative care will be postponed, beginning Sept. 15.

Intermountain said its teams are overwhelmed and ICUs are running out of staffed beds.

“Today is a day I wish had never come,” said Dr. Marc Harrison, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. “Our ICUs are at more than 100 percent capacity, and they are staying there.”

“We are at a critical point where we must take further action to support our teams and the safety of our patients,” officials said.

Rural hospitals, TOSH and Primary Children’s Hospital will continue to do non-urgent surgeries and procedures requiring a hospital admission. These facilities may postpone some cases as needed depending on circumstances.

“We have tried everything we can think of to maintain normal care — it’s not enough,” Harrison said. “Let me mention again it is not enough.”

The following hospitals will be postponing surgeries:

  • Logan Regional
  • McKay-Dee (Ogden)
  • Layton
  • LDS Hospital (Salt Lake)
  • Intermountain Medical Center (Murray)
  • Riverton
  • Alta View (Sandy)
  • Park City
  • American Fork
  • Utah Valley (Provo)
  • Spanish Fork
  • Cedar City
  • St. George

“While this pause in surgeries may create challenges for some patients, it is a necessary and appropriate step given the sharp spike in hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19,” officials said. “Any patient affected by the postponements will be directly notified by telephone. Postponed procedures will be rescheduled after the surge subsides. Intermountain will continue to provide care for urgent situations and emergency patients as it always does.”

Frontline health care workers say they’re burned out, experiencing staffing shortages

Over 500 Utahns are currently hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the state’s seven-day rolling average of new cases was over 1,500 Friday.

“This has rapidly become a pandemic of the rapidly ill, people with weakened immune systems, and the unvaccinated,” said Harrison. “We are facing a dire situation. It’s not just about beds, it’s about staffed beds.”

ICUs at Utah’s 16 referral center hospitals, where the majority of COVID-19 patients are treated, were 92.5% full Thursday — above the state’s “functionally full” threshold of 85%.

“This pandemic is affecting the overall health of our region,” Harrison said.

Across Intermountain’s system, there are currently 350 patients with COVID-19, and 87% are unvaccinated.

“For all these patients that we have in the hospital with COVID, not a single patient is in the hospital with a complication from a vaccination,” Harrison said. “Vaccinations are safe, effective and saving lives every day.”

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