SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Thirteen Utah hospitals, including Logan Regional, will postpone many non-emergency surgeries starting next week as health care workers are overwhelmed by another surge in COVID-19 cases from the faster-spreading delta variant, a major health care company said Friday.
Intermountain Healthcare announced that the hospitals will postpone non-urgent procedures for several weeks starting Sept. 15. The announcement comes a week after state hospital leaders made emotional pleas for vaccinations and universal masking to prevent the state’s ongoing COVID-19 surge.
Hospital utilization in Utah is nearing its previous peak in December when ICUs were 104% full and 606 people were hospitalized. There were 516 people hospitalized for COVID-19 and ICUs were 93% full as of Thursday, state data shows.
In Cache County over the past month, there have been an average of about two daily hospitalizations with a COVID-positive patient, according to the Bear River Health Department. New cases have been rising rapidly since schools resumed classes locally: over the past seven days, there have been an average of nearly 62 newly detected COVID-19 infections a day, up dramatically from the seven-day average of about 46 at the beginning of September, and about 29 on the first of August.
About 62% of Utah residents ages 12 and older were fully vaccinated as of Thursday. Utah reported 10 new deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 2,703.
Several Utah hospitals postponed non-emergency surgeries at the start of the pandemic in 2020 to alleviate some of the strain on health care networks.
The trauma and community hospitals where all non-urgent surgeries and procedures requiring a hospital admission will be postponed include 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 and St. George.
Rural hospitals including Bear River Valley Hospital in Tremonton, TOSH, and Primary Children’s will continue to do non-urgent surgeries and procedures requiring a hospital admission. These facilities may postpone some cases as needed depending on circumstances.