As of Sept. 28, the Moab Regional Hospital had six patients currently being treated for COVID-19—the most the hospital has ever had at one time. That’s in a facility that only has 17 beds and no intensive care unit. Patients who need higher levels of care must be transferred, but many regional hospitals, such as those in Grand Junction and Salt Lake City, are short on the resources it takes to accept transferred patients, according to Christy Calvin, director of marketing and community relations at MRH.
“We’ve been having difficulty transferring patients for several weeks now,” Calvin said.
At the same time, Calvin said, the hospital is also suffering from a staff shortage, like many businesses and organizations struggling to hire employees in Moab. There are currently 25 staff openings—another record for the hospital.
“Everyone’s spread pretty thin,” said Calvin.
With resources being stretched, some members of the community have reached out to see what can the community do to help the hospital staff.
“Get vaccinated,” Calvin said. “Wear your mask. Social distance. That’s really what we all need to do right now.”
Hospitals around the country are being affected by the recent COVID-19 surge, reaching patient capacity while also facing nursing shortages. Utah is no different.
Grand County is still at a “very high” transmission rate, according to coronavirus.utah.gov, along with every other county in Utah. The “very high” transmission rate is defined by more than 200 cases per 100,000 over a 14 day period—Grand County’s rate is 297.3.
The Grand County School District instituted a 30-day mask mandate on September 13, following a COVID-19 outbreak among staff that forced the high school to close [see “COVID-19 outbreak closes schools—what happens now?” in our Sept. 10-16 edition].
As of Sept. 28, 67.48% of the Grand County population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 64.44% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the Southeast Utah Health Department. Vaccine appointments are available at the Moab Regional Hospital, the Southeast Utah Health Department, and at the local City Market.