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Utah hospitals struggle with full ICU capacity



Salt Lake City, Utah — Utah hospitals with ICU units best equipped to treat severe patients are basically 100% full.

According to officials, the potential good news right now is there may not be a large winter surge because half of Utah’s population is now vaccinated.

“So that takes out half of the population that is no longer really high risk for severe disease,” said Dr. Eddie Stenehjem with Intermountain Healthcare.

Hundreds of thousands of Utahns remain unvaccinated, and it’s the unvaxxed patients who are overwhelmingly filling Utah intensive care units all across the state.

“It’s really sad to see illness like this, that in many cases can be prevented,” added Stenehjem. “And so it is challenging to come in and do this every day, have these same conversations with patients every day knowing that some of it, it’s preventable.”

According to Stenehjem, another byproduct of all of being at full capacity is having to delay or refuse certain surgeries which require ICU follow-up.

Officials are planning for the possibility that COVID numbers might actually get worse before they start to go down.

“What are our contingency plans for that?,” asked Stenehjem. “So a lot of action going on across Intermountain Healthcare, all focused on being able to provide the care we want to be able to provide to our patients with COVID-19 and also with a non-COVID-19 illness.”

Dr.Stenehjem and other medical professionals continue urging those who are not yet vaccinated to do so. And for those who are vaccinated to get the booster shot when it’s available.