ICUs are crowded with COVID patients, and that’s starting to delay some surgeries

Coronavirus hospitalizations have more than doubled in the past two months. Utah reports 559 new cases and 4 more deaths.

(photo courtesy Intermountain Healthcare) Hospital staff at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray care for patients with COVID-19 on June 9, 2020.

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On May 20, there were 140 Utahns hospitalized with COVID-19, and 56 of those were in intensive care units. Two months later, those numbers have more than doubled — 293 Utahns are in the hospital because of the coronavirus, and 123 are in ICUs.

At least one Salt Lake City medical facility — the University of Utah Hospital — is delaying some elective surgeries because of the number of patients in its medical ICU.

“We’re canceling several today and plan to cancel more tomorrow,” said hospital spokeswoman Kathy Wilets. Not all the ICU patients are suffering from COVID-19, but the number of coronavirus patients is pushing the overall number of patients up.

The numbers are constantly changing, but as of midday Tuesday 42% of the U. of U. Hospital’s medical ICU patients were admitted with COVID-19, and there are also coronavirus patients in other parts of the hospital who don’t require intensive care at this point. (Other facilities, including Intermountain Healthcare and MountainStar Health, have not had to delay any surgeries.)

“What makes this wave different is we simply don’t have staffing to open up new COVID units as we did last summer and fall,” Wilets said. “We continue to urge the community to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so yet, so that everyone can get the care they need.”

Vaccine doses administered in past day/total doses administered • 5,720 / 2,956,857.

Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,453,516.

Cases reported in past day • 559.

Deaths reported in past day • Four: A Davis County man age 85 or older, a Salt Lake County man 45-64, a Utah county woman 45-64, and a Weber County woman 65-84.

Tests reported in past day • 4,457 people were tested for the first time. A total of 7,712 people were tested.

Hospitalizations reported in the past day • 293. That’s 13 more than on Monday. Of those currently hospitalized, 123 are in intensive care, two more than on Monday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 12.5%. That’s lower than the seven-day average of 13.5%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Tuesday’s rate was 7.2%, lower than the seven-day average of 9.3%

[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]

Totals to date • 424,730 cases; 2,420 deaths; 18,170 hospitalizations; 2,867,449 people tested.

This story is developing and will be updated.