As another 18 Utahns die from COVID-19, some health workers are getting their second vaccine dose

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Abbie Lunda, an LPN with Ivy Lane Pediatrics in Ogden receives the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. The Weber-Morgan Health Department began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers in non-hospital settings at Weber State University's Dee Events Center, Jan. 5, 2020. The health department hopes to vaccinate 1,000 a day.

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing free access to critical stories about the coronavirus. Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter, sent to your inbox every weekday morning. To support journalism like this, please donate or become a subscriber.

As the daily number of COVID-19 related deaths in Utah spiked on Wednesday to 18 — equaling the number who died in the previous three days combined — Intermountain Healthcare has begun giving second doses of the vaccine to its health care workers, among the first in Utah to be fully inoculated.

“I know my body is producing proteins, producing antibodies,” said Sophie Woodbury, a surgical nurse at Salt Lake City’s LDS Hospital, at a Wednesday news conference. “With the second dose, and a few days down the road, I feel a little bit more relief. I feel more protected. I feel more encouraged for the future.”

The Utah Department of Health reported 4,661 vaccinations since the previous day, for a statewide total of 60,462. UDOH has said it will report the number of people fully vaccinated once Utahns begin getting their second dose; although Woodbury and others received second doses Tuesday, UDOH had not started reporting that number.

The state said the number of Utahns in intensive care units because of the coronavirus jumped 13% from Tuesday to Wednesday, to a total of 192.

Cases reported in past day • 3,769.

The 18 deaths reported Wednesday • There were seven deaths in Salt Lake County (three men ages 45-64, one man and one woman 64-84, one woman 65-84, and one woman over 85); three deaths in Weber County (a woman 25-44, a man 45-64 and a man 65-84); two deaths in Utah County (a man 65-84 and a woman over 85); two deaths in Washington County (a man 45-64 and a woman 65-84); and one each in Box Elder (a man 65-84), Duchesne County (a man 45-64), Millard County (a man 65-84) and Summit County (a man 65-84).

Hospitalizations reported in past day • 525. That’s up 15 from Tuesday and 41 from Monday. Of those currently hospitalized, 192 are in intensive care units — 25 more than on Monday.

Tests reported in past day • 12,457.

Percentage of positive tests • 30.26%. That’s slightly below the seven-day average of 32.66%.

Totals to date • 292,720 cases; 1,330 deaths; 11,463 hospitalizations; 1,774,635 tests.

Intermountain, Utah’s largest hospital system, has given out some 25,000 vaccine doses as of Jan. 4, said Dr. Tamara Sheffield, Intermountain’s medical director of community health and prevention.

Sheffield said Intermountain has not yet ordered additional vaccine for its staff, but that the second dose was shipped to them automatically.

Most of the first doses went to front-line health care workers, though some have been given to first responders and residents at the company’s in-house long-term care facilities.

When the second doses are distributed, Sheffield said, Intermountain will order more.

”We have to demonstrate our capacity to be vaccinators to the federal government,” Sheffield said. “Future deliveries of vaccine are dependent on how well we can quickly move through and provide the vaccine that we’ve already been given.”

As Utah moves into later phases of the vaccine’s rollout, Sheffield said, Intermountain would be working with regional health departments to distribute vaccine to teachers, first responders, and to people 75 and older.

Health care workers who are getting the second dose of vaccine this week say they are feeling some mild side effects and a great deal of relief.

Woodbury said she felt no side effects after her first dose of the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech version of the vaccine, which she received three weeks ago as one of the first people in Utah to be vaccinated.

After the second dose, she woke up Wednesday with a slight headache, she said at Intermountain’s news conference. “I took a couple ibuprofen and that really did the trick,” she said.

Monte Roberts, an ICU nurse at LDS Hospital, said he felt a bit tired after getting the second dose Tuesday, and had a sore arm at the injection site. “I’m really excited that I’ve had the opportunity to get both doses,” Roberts said.

Comments:  (0)