CORONAVIRUS

U Hospital staff ‘moving mountains’ to beat back omicron surge 

Jan 18, 2022, 5:14 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 6:26 pm

Salt Lake City – Unlike other parts of the country, the surge in omicron cases has not peaked yet in Utah. According to a top doctor at University of Utah Hospital, the facility was full, and staffing was thin but caregivers remained determined in their mission. 

Statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at record levels, as Utah caregivers deal with the steepest surge in the pandemic, so far. The associate chief medical officer at U of U Health said it’s taking a toll on caregivers but they give what they have each day. 

“They’re essentially moving mountains to do what it is that we do really well,” said Dr. Kencee Graves. 

The associate chief medical officer is part of a team responsible for putting the pieces in place to care for all patients, with or without COVID-19. Since the pandemic began she said it feels as though it’s been all COVID-19. 

“It’s been really hard the last two years for anybody in the world of health care,” Graves said. “So, I just keep showing up, supporting our teams, and hoping I can make things better.” 

That’s challenging because of staffing shortages due to people quitting the profession, and COVID-19 among caregivers. 

“A year ago, we were doing what we are doing right now with more people,” she said. “The majority of our hospital beds are full.” 

That adds to the fatigue and stress for those who remain to care for the patients. 

“They’re outstanding team members,” Graves said. “We’re really in this together, and I think honestly a lot of people really just see that this pandemic is going to evolve. It’s not going to cripple us forever.” 

Some beds remained closed because they need more doctors and nurses so they prioritize care. 

“And make sure we can get the most urgent patients in as fast as possible, and then come up with a plan for the others,” the physician said. 

Omicron may be milder for most patients but that’s not necessarily true for everyone. 

“We have had a number of patients that have been seriously ill as a result of COVID-19, and many of those are people who did not get vaccinated.” 

Physicians again are calling on the community to support their efforts. 

“Do everything in your power to stay healthy,” Graves said. 

That includes getting vaccinated. Even if you get a breakthrough case, the doctor said, the vaccine gives you the best chance of staying out of the hospital and living. 

__________________________________________________________________________

Coronavirus Resources 

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com. 

Click here to sign up for a vaccine and here to see how Utah’s vaccine rollout is progressing. 

The latest COVID-19 stories from KSL can be found here. 

How do I prevent it? 

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick 
  • Avoid touching your face 
  • Stay home when you are sick 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. 
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus

...
Associated Press

CDC drops traveler health notices for individual countries

The CDC is doing away with notices about the COVID-19 risk of visiting specific countries.
2 months ago
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
2 months ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Jed Boal

Despite reaching 5,000 deaths, Utah’s COVID-19 numbers are down

The director of the World Health Organization said yesterday about COVID-19, “the end is in sight,” even if we are not there yet.
3 months ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

WHO: COVID end ‘in sight,’ deaths at lowest since March 2020

The head of the World Health Organization says the number of coronavirus deaths last week was the lowest reported number in the pandemic since March 2020, marking what could be a turning point in the years-long global outbreak.
3 months ago
A school classroom with chairs and desks...
Brooke Williams

Project to provide air purifiers in Utah K-12 classrooms

Cleaner air improves student performance, decreases COVID transmission and school absenteeism. New project provides air purifiers for classrooms in Utah.
3 months ago
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 08: People walk by a closed store at a neighborhood designated as a medium-r...
Laura He, CNN Business

Zero- COVID-19 at what price? Chinese researchers are treading on sensitive ground

Authorities in Shanghai have denied a report by a leading Chinese real estate research firm that claimed more than a third of shops in a major mall had been shuttered because of strict COVID-19 curbs.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
U Hospital staff ‘moving mountains’ to beat back omicron surge