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Reporting from the St. George area focused on local government, public lands and the environment, indigenous issues and faith and spirituality.

St. George Hospital ICU Over Capacity For The Majority Of Last Two Months

 Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital
Lexi Peery
Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital’s ICU wing has been operating at surge capacity for a majority of the last two months.

Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital has been at or more than 100% intensive care unit capacity for most of the past two months, according to hospital officials.

As of Friday, there was only one day in January that the hospital hadn't been over capacity, according to Patrick Carroll, the hospital’s medical director. In December, he said they were over capacity all but six days.

Carroll said they have had to use surge ICU resources for the past two months to meet the demand.

“We'd normally staff a hospital for expected volumes,” he said in a press conference on Friday. “So when those volumes continue to increase, we don't have the luxury of simply turning people away and saying, ‘sorry, we won't care for you because we've already reached capacity.’ We continue to care for those patients.”

Carroll said they’ve had to bring in nurses from other parts of the hospital that don’t usually treat ICU patients, as well as traveling nurses from the Intermountain Healthcare system.

Southwest Utah Public Health Department Director David Blodgett said the department has tried to be consistent in their messaging throughout the pandemic.

“I suspect as we go further through this, it's harder for people to pay attention to the message,” Blodgett said. “But that doesn't mean the message has changed and we’ll continue to get the message out.”

There have been more than 22,700 COVID-19 cases in southwest Utah, and 63 residents are currently hospitalized because of the disease.

Lexi is KUER's Southwest Bureau reporter
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