CORONAVIRUS

U Hospital staff ‘moving mountains’ to beat back omicron surge 

Jan 18, 2022, 5:14 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 6:26 pm

Salt Lake City – Unlike other parts of the country, the surge in omicron cases has not peaked yet in Utah. According to a top doctor at University of Utah Hospital, the facility was full, and staffing was thin but caregivers remained determined in their mission. 

Statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at record levels, as Utah caregivers deal with the steepest surge in the pandemic, so far. The associate chief medical officer at U of U Health said it’s taking a toll on caregivers but they give what they have each day. 

“They’re essentially moving mountains to do what it is that we do really well,” said Dr. Kencee Graves. 

The associate chief medical officer is part of a team responsible for putting the pieces in place to care for all patients, with or without COVID-19. Since the pandemic began she said it feels as though it’s been all COVID-19. 

“It’s been really hard the last two years for anybody in the world of health care,” Graves said. “So, I just keep showing up, supporting our teams, and hoping I can make things better.” 

That’s challenging because of staffing shortages due to people quitting the profession, and COVID-19 among caregivers. 

“A year ago, we were doing what we are doing right now with more people,” she said. “The majority of our hospital beds are full.” 

That adds to the fatigue and stress for those who remain to care for the patients. 

“They’re outstanding team members,” Graves said. “We’re really in this together, and I think honestly a lot of people really just see that this pandemic is going to evolve. It’s not going to cripple us forever.” 

Some beds remained closed because they need more doctors and nurses so they prioritize care. 

“And make sure we can get the most urgent patients in as fast as possible, and then come up with a plan for the others,” the physician said. 

Omicron may be milder for most patients but that’s not necessarily true for everyone. 

“We have had a number of patients that have been seriously ill as a result of COVID-19, and many of those are people who did not get vaccinated.” 

Physicians again are calling on the community to support their efforts. 

“Do everything in your power to stay healthy,” Graves said. 

That includes getting vaccinated. Even if you get a breakthrough case, the doctor said, the vaccine gives you the best chance of staying out of the hospital and living. 

__________________________________________________________________________

Coronavirus Resources 

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com. 

Click here to sign up for a vaccine and here to see how Utah’s vaccine rollout is progressing. 

The latest COVID-19 stories from KSL can be found here. 

How do I prevent it? 

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick 
  • Avoid touching your face 
  • Stay home when you are sick 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. 
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

A sign reminding Copper Hills High School students and staff to keep their hands clean during the c...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah school districts working to prioritize what stays when COVID relief money runs dry

Utah's school districts are working to figure out how they will continue to pay for programs propped up by COVID-19 relief funds.

13 days ago

FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

3 months ago

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

3 months ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

5 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

5 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

6 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

U Hospital staff ‘moving mountains’ to beat back omicron surge