Wasatch County Officials Get COVID Warning On Increasing Case Counts
The Wasatch County Health Department updated officials on the increasing COVID-19 case counts and hospital utilization and ICU trends.
During the interlocal meeting on Wednesday night, county and municipal officials were told that with the number of positive COVID-19 cases continuing upward, there will be a delayed impact on the area hospitals. Regional ICU beds are not at capacity now but staffing them is a bigger concern. Wasatch County Council Chair Danny Goode asked Public Health Director Randall Probst for clarification on ICU staffing.
“We can physically have a bed, but we might not have people who are ICU trained. Can you tell me if this is true or not? I heard that in some of the hospitals that are harder hit, they're pulling nurses and staff who are not ICU trained and putting them into the ICU units to help out.”
“So essentially yes that's true. We have had a couple of hospitals have had to try and create a couple of additional ICU beds and the other ICU’s are full and they’re not able to receive, they’re trying to create some of that space. And having enough staff even to man the existing ICU beds is a challenge but when you have to create additional beds, and then try and find staff.”
Probst says hospitals try to pull the most trained personnel from other departments, but medical officials are worried about staffing ICU’s as case counts continue to rise. He anticipates by week’s end; the majority of Utah will be in the high transmission category. Wasatch County already falls into the high alert category and he says, they’re going in the wrong direction.
“The parameters of that high-level transmission, as you can see here, seven day average greater than 13. I'm anticipating we could be up as high as 19, so we've actually gone a little bit the wrong direction in the last week. The case rate--all of us are going up there. The 325 per 100,000. We could actually be closer to 500 than the 400 we were at last time. So, the numbers are changing fairly rapidly. The other one that has changed significantly, and that's probably the one to point out is the statewide ICU both of these have to be met in order to hit that level of transmission above 72 and for total ICU utilization above 15 of the ICU being COVID."
Probst says for those who want to celebrate holidays, there is a helpful CDC site that shows best ways to manage the virus during gatherings.
“I’m not trying to shut down the holiday or or eliminate it. We’re certainly encouraging smaller groups, family groups and even within families. So, encouraging when larger family gatherings happened, larger family gatherings, that we still work on social distancing. It seems like the spread is happening where we least expect it to happen. When we're at work, when we're at school, cases have been amazingly low. And we're grateful for that. It’s after school. It’s in the activities outside the work setting and outside of school and outside of places where precautions are happening.”
A link to the most recent Wasatch County COVID-19 case numbers can be found here.