Hospitalizations soar to the highest of the pandemic and many patients will not return home

Jan 27, 2022, 5:02 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:53 pm

MURRAY, Utah— As of Thursday, there are more Utahns hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic, and many of them will not go home.  A doctor with Intermountain Medical Center today gave a systemwide update, and said the Omicron variant needs to be taken seriously.

  Right now, there are 843 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Utah. That’s an increase of 67 from yesterday, which was also a record day for hospitalizations.

  “A lot of people I think pay attention to just the number of positive tests, and really the true marker of how severe this disease is, is in hospitalizations,” said Dr. Wing Province, an emergency physician and medical director of Intermountain Park City Hospital.

  Here in Utah, the number of people hospitalized by COVID-19 has been climbing since Christmas.  The Omicron variant is taking a terrible toll on our communities despite the ongoing perception that it is not as severe as previous variants.

  In an online briefing, Dr. Province said it’s a mistake to underestimate Omicron.

  “I’ve heard a lot of parents say, ‘I just want to get it and get it over with so that my family can have antibodies and just go on with their lives.’ But, the reality is, look at our hospitalizations, they’re still really, really high.”

  Nearly two-thirds of those currently hospitalized at Intermountain facilities due to COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated.  In addition to record hospitalizations, 78 people have died from COVID-19 in Utah in the last week.

  Here’s another problem crowding Intermountain facilities:

 “A lot of folks are actually coming in because of such a shortage in testing,” Province said. “We’re actually seeing people who are willing to pay for an ER or emergency department visit just to get a Covid test, even though they don’t have a lot of symptoms or severe disease.”

  That’s not the kind of traffic they want In the emergency room during the pandemic.

 “That’s certainly making it difficult for us to take care of the patients who are the sickest, and who really need to be there,” he said.

  The physician said vaccines, masks and social distancing remain the best line of defense against COVID.

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Hospitalizations soar to the highest of the pandemic and many patients will not return home