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Hospitals praise new mandates during 'tipping point'

Posted at 5:31 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 00:12:11-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The leaders of Utah’s top hospital applaud Governor Gary Herbert’s new COVID-19 measures.

Utah’s hospital staff says they’re struggling with the surge of COVID-19.

"I would submit that we are at the tipping point today,” Intermountain Healthcare Chief Physician Executive Mark Briesacher said.

“I would say we, as a system, are at our tipping point,” agreed University of Utah Health Chief Nursing Officer Tracey Nixon.

With nearly 450 patients hospitalized with COVID Monday, some facilities are now cutting back on non-critical surgeries.

Stewart Healthcare has five times the number of patients than two months ago.

University of Utah needed two additional intensive care teams.

Intermountain Healthcare hired 200 more nurses.

“We are committed to be there for you when you need, but we are on a path that is going to make that increasingly difficult,” said Briesacher.

In a press call Monday afternoon, healthcare leaders echoed gratitude for the newest COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandate from Governor Herbert.

“Science shows us that these measures will work. Experience over the past two months shows us what happens without these measures,” said Stewart Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Arien Jarrett.

For months, health experts pleaded for a mask mandate and a measure preventing social gatherings. Now, they hope Utahns will support it.

“Incredibly, incredibly challenging times. I plead with our community to follow the mandate, mask, make the hard decisions and the hard choices today so we can keep the community and one another safe,” said Nixon.

This week, 30 nurses from New York are in Utah helping ease the burden on medical staff for Intermountain Healthcare.