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How Utah hospital patients are prioritized for treatment, with ICU bed shortage and huge COVID case spike

Virus Outbreak Utah
Posted at 1:08 PM, Jan 11, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — With COVID-19 cases surging and hospital ICU beds again at critically low levels, the Utah Department of Health is revising its treatment risk score calculator to ensure those most at risk receive proper treatment.

This calculator has continually evolved during the pandemic to give hospitals the best information possible for treatment decisions. Now that the omicron variant has stretched resources to the limit, new data will provide medical professionals with the best tool possible to make treatment decisions.

Data and research provided the Intermountain Healthcare was taken from 100,000 Utahns who tested postive for COVID-19 to create the risk score calculator.

Among the findings were that non-white or Hispanic/Latinx people are from 35-50 percent more likely to be hospitalized, though nobody automatically qualifies for treatment based on their race or ethnicity.

Some factors do automatically qualify a person for treatment, such as those living in a long-term care facility, unvaccinated pregnant women, or those who are severely immunocompromised, because they have the highest risk of becoming gravely ill.

For those who don't automatically qualify, risk factors receive a certain amount of points to calculate the score, such as pre-existing conditions, age, vaccination status, and current symptoms.

Health professionals are reminding people that the best defense against contracting COVID-19 are to get vaccinated, boosted, and wear masks when in a public place.