With nearly 1,500 new cases, Utah reports its second worst daily increase

Health care workers process patients at a new COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. The testing site is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon. Appointments are required.

Health care workers process patients at a new COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. The testing site is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon. Appointments are required. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Officials plead for help controlling outbreaks, especially with overworked, understaffed health care workers

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah reported nearly 1,500 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, marking the second-highest daily increase of the pandemic.

As the cases continue to surge, medical providers are concerned about impacts on the health care workers and vulnerable populations.

“Our hospitals are under stress right now,” said Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease doctor with Intermountain Healthcare, who discussed the unprecedented impact on Utah’s hospitals — both facilities and staff — on Thursday. “We’ve never seen this many patients.

“Our health care workers are doing an amazing job. And our ICU docs, our nurses, our pharmacists, our respiratory therapists, I mean they are the the true heroes in this, and whatever you can do … to really mitigate any kind of transmission is going to be so appreciated,” Stenehjem said.

“Everybody has a role in this, this affects our entire community. And everybody needs to contribute. And whether that be, you know, always wearing a mask, reducing your exposures,” he said. “We need help. And the time to act is now because we’re not seeing any change in this curve at all.”

The Utah Department of Health announced 1,498 new cases — just short of the record 1,501 daily cases reported last week on Oct. 8.

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Two new deaths were reported Thursday — both were Salt Lake County men over 85. One of the two was hospitalized when he died. That brings the coronavirus death toll to 529.

There are 258 Utahns currently hospitalized with COVID-19, which is one less than on Wednesday and nine more than Tuesday.

Local and state health department officials continued to plead with Utahns in separate press conferences Thursday to observe the precautions meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, maintaining at least 6 feet between you and people with whom you do not live, and not participating in social gatherings — even small, informal get-togethers among extended family members.

“Our case counts are continuing to go up, if you look at our average seven-day rate,” said Stenehjem, referring to the rolling seven-day average of 1,204 cases per day with the percent of positive laboratory tests at 13.9%.

“It’s the highest it’s ever been. The trend is continuing to go up,” he said. “When we look at the entire United States, we’re the fifth highest state in terms of rise in cases. … North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and Utah, and so the governor kind of hit it right on the head saying we’re not doing a great job in terms of controlling this pandemic.”

Stenehjem said that stabilization in numbers in places like Salt Lake …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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