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Staffing shortages in Utah hospitals

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Murray, Utah — For the first time during the pandemic, Gov. Spencer Cox said there were zero ICU beds available in the state.

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

According to public health employees, healthcare 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.”

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

According to public health officials, 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 urge the public to take this information seriously and protect themselves against getting COVID-19.

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