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Southern Utah doctors say they are seeing a surge of hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 19:20:24-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah — The intensive care unit at St. George Regional Hospital is running at 90 percent capacity, every day, with all types of patients. 25 percent of patients are suffering from COVID-19.

The Southwestern District covers five counties: Garfield, Iron, Washington, Beaver and Kane.

As of Wednesday, they have seen more than 37,000 total cases with more than 1,000 patients hospitalized. 285 residents have died from COVID-19.

More than 40 percent of their district population are vaccinated, and 75 percent of their senior population have received both doses.

Read - Utah COVID cases increase by more than 800 since Wednesday, one new death

Doctor Patrick Carroll with the St. George Regional Hospital said this past week was the first time they have expanded their ICU since January.

The increase has filled their intensive care unit, forcing doctors to work intense hours.

"We’re asking a lot of them and it’s difficult," said Dr. Carroll. "They’re doing it but they’d like a break."

In comparison to 2020, Dr. Carroll said there are more COVID-19 patients at their hospital.

Read - 'Pandemic of the unvaccinated': SLCo leaders alarmed over case surge

Carroll said they did not anticipate this surge in cases, but because it was close to the Fourth of July holiday, he’s not surprised - he expects a similar surge following Pioneer Day Weekend.

Unlike the surge doctors saw in January of 2021, Dr. Carroll said the death rate has not surged with hospitalizations. The average age of those hospitalized with COVID-19 is 60.

"We’ve learned to treat the infection more effectively," said Dr. Carroll.

The main message in Dr. Carroll's update: the vaccine works.

"Because of the vaccination, we are seeing a decrease in the severity of disease," said Dr. Carroll.