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U.S. Navy assists U of U Hospital recover from COVID-19

Posted at 11:59 AM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 13:59:04-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The omicron surge appears to be over and COVID-19 case counts in Utah continue going down. But things aren’t yet back to normal at local hospitals where reinforcements are on the way.

A team of U.S. Navy doctors, nurses and therapists will allow University of Utah Hospital to open up beds and get things back to normal as quickly as possible.

The team assembled Wednesday morning before heading into the hospital to scrub up and start treating patients.

Over the past two years of the pandemic, hospital officials said they’ve done a pretty good job dealing with COVID patients while also taking care of most surgeries.

But due to staffing shortages, 52 beds remained out of service. Then the omicron surge hit so quickly that many additional, non-emergency procedures had to be postponed.

This deployment of naval medical personnel will step right in to support hospital staff allowing surgeons to focus on hundreds of postponed procedures.

“We need help getting caught up! In fact this operation is called clinical recovery augmentation, noting the shift to a recovery," said Dr. Michael Good, CEO UofU Health. "We’re certainly not back to normal but we are trying to shift and get headed in that direction.”

Dr. Good said not only will this team be a medical asset to the hospital but they’ll also help with mental health and morale. In particular front line doctors and nurses who have worked so hard and endured so much during the pandemic.

University Health employs nearly 14,000 people and officials said they typically have a couple of hundred openings due to retirements and other factors. But they have twice that many openings now.

This Naval medical team will be here for the next 30 days trying to get things back to normal.