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Utah’s hospitals feeling the strain of latest COVID wave

August 3, 2021 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s hospitals are feeling the strain as coronavirus cases increase, the vast majority among unvaccinated people, officials said Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Spencer Cox called the latest wave a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” yet maintained the state wouldn’t be following New York in requiring people show they got the shot. Still, if private companies require some sort of proof, state would support them, he said.

“The delta variant is highly contagious and it’s spreading rapidly. Our hospital ICUs are filling up and our healthcare workers are feeling the strain,” he said. Hospitals have a shortage of qualified healthcare workers more than a year into the punishing pandemic.

Intensive-care units around the state have exceeded 100% capacity multiple times over the last several days, according to officials with Intermountain Healthcare.

The state had more than 6,000 new cases over the past week, about 90% of those affected unvaccinated people, hospital system officials said. There’s also a national shortage of a medication shown to be effective in treating COVID called Tocilizumab, doctors said.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who said she still suffers the effects of her own battle with COVID, was blunt: “Everybody who is unvaccinated is part of the problem,” she said.