Exclusive: University of Utah Health says patient cases quadruple while hundreds of medical workers are out sick

University of Utah Hospital. Photo Courtesy: U of U Hospital

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 4, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — University of Utah Health will conduct a news conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday regarding its decision to cancel elective surgeries starting Wednesday to preserve resources stretched thin by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The decision, reported overnight in an exclusive story by Gephardt Daily, was outlined in a staff email issued Monday by Dr. Robert Glasgow, Interim Chair for the Department of Surgery at the University of Utah.

The decision to cancel almost all elective surgeries will be in effect between Wednesday and at least Jan. 14, the email says.

University of Utah Health has confirmed exclusively to Gephardt Daily that since the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, it has seen an increase of 400 percent in COVID-19 patients, and that several hundred members of the medical staff have called in sick.

The Utah Department of Health on Monday reported it had documented 14,754 additional COVID-19 cases since its report on Thursday.

State health officials also released updated Utah guidelines on Monday in reaction to the CDC’s new guidelines, which is some cases shorten quarantine times.

On Tuesday, Salt Lake County Health executive director Dr. Angela Dunn called for people living and working in the county to get vaccinations and booster shots, and increase use of masks to lessen the effects of the pandemic and the Omicron variant surge.

Gephardt Daily reporters Nancy Van Valkenburg and Patrick Benedict contributed to this story.

*Correction: It was originally reported U of U Health saw a 400 percent rise in the rate of medical worker sick calls. Updated information from U. Health indicates several hundred medical employees are currently out sick.

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