With nearly 9k new cases, Utah’s monoclonal antibodies are running low, testing sites are flooded, and another child has died from COVID.


Hospital managers said Thursday’s record-breaking number of cases was part of a “catastrophic” environment.

(Intermountain Healthcare) Healthcare workers tend to use COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit at Intermountain Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Aug. 25, 2021. Utah’s hospital leaders now is warning that a bed shortage is imminent amid record coronavirus infections.

Utah’s supplies of COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies and antiviral drugs are dwindling as new cases break state records again on Thursday.

And Utah’s hospital leaders are warning that more bed shortages are imminent amid record coronavirus infections.

“Our employees are afraid to come to work,” said Tracey Nixon, director of nursing at the University of Utah Health. “They know we don’t have the staff to take care of our patients the way we need them to. … I [recently] there were three nurses who quit because they couldn’t do this again. “

More than 8,900 cases were reported on Thursday, breaking Wednesday’s record high 7,200 new cases. Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of the Utah Department of Health, said 13 new deaths were recorded Thursday, including one child.

Coronavirus hospitalizations have increased since Christmas – 530 coronavirus patients were hospitalized on Thursday, Hofmann said – but Utah’s hospitals are yet to see the worst of the numbers. There’s been a recent spike in cases, as patients often aren’t hospitalized in at least some of the cases. days after testing positive.

Although the omicron variant of the virus usually causes milder disease than the previously dominant variants, Health experts have warned that the large number of new infections This means that the hospitalization rate will almost certainly continue to increase.

Meanwhile, hospitals in Utah are understaffed because too many staff members come to check up on patients or isolate because family members are sick. The University of Utah Hospital on Tuesday said more than 500 of its employees are out of illness, and several scheduled surgeries have been delayed.

“We diverted the ambulance for six hours last night because [emergency department] Nixon said.

And one resource Utah has touted to avoid hospitalization — monoclonal antibodies given to high-risk patients soon after diagnosis — is almost gone.

“We treated 1,000 [patients] every week,” says Hofmann in an online press conference with the hospital’s board of directors. “This week we can only order [treatments for] 264.”

Only about 220 courses of oral antiretroviral therapy are available statewide, said Hoffmann, two treatments currently available to less than one in eight high-risk patients. . The shortfall is due in part to a nationwide shortage as more and more patients are at high risk of becoming infected. Another reason is that, of the three monoclonal antibody versions available, only one is effective against the omicron variant, Hofmann said.

Hofmann said that Caseload is likely to become more “explosive” in the coming weeks, with at least 12,000 new cases daily by the end of the month – if infected people can be tested in the first place.

“Our test sites are bursting at the seams,” says Hofmann. “People are spending hours in their cars waiting to be checked out.”

Before this week, the peak daily case count was under 5,000.

The hospital’s board of directors and health officials — as well as Governor Spencer Cox — begged the Utahns to get a shot and a booster shot. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Wednesday recommended a booster shot of COVID-19 for children ages 15 to 17.

“One resource that is not in short supply is vaccines,” says Hofmann.

Cox, who was not at Thursday’s briefing, sent out a text reiterating that vaccines and boosters are the best way to avoid serious illness from the coronavirus.

“If, for whatever reason, you’ve turned down vaccinations or health promotion, now is the time,” Cox wrote.

The highly infectious omicron variant has produced breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals, but vaccines and boosters have proven extremely effective in reducing symptoms and keeping patients at bay. not to the hospital.

Over the past four weeks, unvaccinated Utahns were 17.1 times more likely to die than vaccinated individuals and 8.9 times more likely to need hospital care, UDOH reported today. Thursday. They were 2.6 times more likely to test positive.

The Salt Lake Tribune will update this developing story. With nearly 9k new cases, Utah’s monoclonal antibodies are running low, testing sites are flooded, and another child has died from COVID.

Yasmin Harisha

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