St. George, Cedar City hospitals among hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries amid COVID-19 surge

St. George Regional Hospital, St. George, Utah, March 13, 2021 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Thirteen Utah hospitals – including St. George Regional Hospital and Cedar City Hospital – will postpone many non-emergency surgeries starting next week as health care workers are overwhelmed by another surge in COVID-19 cases from the faster-spreading delta variant, a major health care company said Friday.

Nurses and doctors attend to a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator at a Utah hospital in an updated photo | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

Intermountain Healthcare announced that the hospitals will postpone non-urgent procedures for several weeks starting Sept. 15. The announcement comes a week after state hospital leaders made emotional pleas for vaccinations and universal masking to prevent the state’s ongoing COVID-19 surge.

St. George Regional Hospital spokesperson Terri Draper told St. George News that both St. George Regional Hospital and Cedar City Hospital are among those that will postpone non-emergency surgeries. She said those scheduled for non-emergency surgeries beginning Sept. 15 will be contacted with regard to postponement.

This news follows a report of a record 15 deaths in five days in Southern Utah, as previously reported on by St. George News.

Hospital utilization in Utah is nearing its previous peak in December when ICUs were 104% full and 606 people were hospitalized. There were 516 people hospitalized for COVID-19 and ICUs were 93% full as of Thursday, state data shows.

About 62% of Utah residents ages 12 and older were fully vaccinated as of Thursday. Utah reported 10 new deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 2,703.

Several Utah hospitals postponed non-emergency surgeries at the start of the pandemic in 2020 to alleviate some of the strain on health care networks.

St. George News contributed to this story.

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