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intermountain surgeries, COVID-19 hospitalizations plateau in Utah, but doctors worry about after Thanksgiving surge
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Intermountain Healthcare may postpone elective surgeries

Staff work inside an ICU at an Intermountain Healthcare location. (Intermountain Healthcare)

MURRAY, Utah — Intermountain Healthcare announced its hospitals may postpone elective surgeries in an effort to devote resources to treating COVID-19 patients. 

In a statement released Wednesday evening, Intermountain said the move comes as part of the surge plan they developed at the start of the outbreak. 

“As surge plans are activated at Intermountain hospitals in response to rising cases, some surgeries that require an inpatient admission after surgery but can be safely postponed may be delayed. This will free up space and beds, preserve supplies, and free up caregivers to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID patients who need health services,” the statement said. 

Affected patients will be directly notified, according to the company, and have their postponed surgeries rescheduled. 

The change does not apply to emergency or urgent care needs. 

“Our intent is to continue to provide surgical care where possible and make adjustments as needed as our resources get stressed,” said Dr. Rob Ferguson, senior medical director of surgical operations at Intermountain. “Rather than introduce a blanket postponement of cases like we did in the spring, we have a fine-tuned process at each hospital that allows us greater precision in balancing the surgical needs of our patients with the resources available at each hospital.”

Ferguson said a drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations will result in a resumption of normal operations. 

In the statement, Intermountain urged Utahns to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands, and staying home when sick. 

“Utahns are also asked to limit family gatherings for Thanksgiving to those living in their immediate household,” the statement said.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States