As new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Utah among primarily the unvaccinated, including those being fueled by new COVID variants Delta and Lambda, doctors from Intermountain Healthcare held a community update on Tuesday, July 13, to address increasing cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
“We have definitely seen an increase in patients with COVID. From a caregiver standpoint, this is really disappointing, because of the availability of vaccines. Currently, 95% of those hospitalized from COVID are unvaccinated,” said Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an IHC infectious disease specialist.
On Monday, the Utah Department of Health reported 1,238 new COVID cases from last weekend, up 247 from the same period last week. UDOH reported 220 hospitalizations, six COVID deaths, and a seven-day average COVID positivity rate of 12.3%.
Doctors say that surge is being fueled by new COVID variants and primarily causing illness and hospitalizations among people who are not vaccinated for the virus. Health officials are urging people who have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Doctors will also address the surge and potential impact on Utah health caregivers, who are recovering from the peak of the pandemic late last year, when Utah hospital ICUs were operating beyond capacity levels and caregivers were struggling to keep up with skyrocketing patient volumes.
“Now the elderly population is well-vaccinated, so we are seeing a shift to younger age groups that are being infected. COVID-19 is an upper respiratory infection. If you have cold-like symptoms, we urge you to get tested,” said Stenehjem.