As cases of COVID-19 and subsequent hospitalizations surge in Utah, Intermountain Healthcare is implementing steps to conserve intensive medicine resources and help reduce hospital capacity. This is part of Intermountain’s surge plan that was developed months ago at the beginning of the pandemic.

As surge plans are activated at Intermountain hospitals in response to rising cases, some surgeries that require an inpatient admission after surgery but can be safely postponed may be delayed. This will free up space and beds, preserve supplies, and free up caregivers to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID patients who need health services.

Any patient affected by this will be directly notified.

While this may be disappointing for some patients, it is a necessary and appropriate step given the sharp spike in hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19.

Any postponed procedures will be rescheduled after the surge subsides. Intermountain will continue to provide care for urgent situations and emergency patients as it always does, according to Rob Ferguson, MD, Intermountain’s senior medical director of surgical operations.

“Our intent is to continue to provide surgical care where possible and make adjustments as needed as our resources get stressed,” said Dr. Ferguson. “Rather than introduce a blanket postponement of cases like we did in the spring, we have a fine-tuned process at each hospital that allows us greater precision in balancing the surgical needs of our patients with the resources available at each hospital.”

As we see a drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations, we will be able conserve resources, ease staffing concerns, and resume our standard surgical operations, said Dr. Ferguson.

Intermountain is asking Utahns to mask up, social distance, wash hands, and stay home when they’re sick to help slow the spread of disease. Utahns are also asked to limit family gatherings for Thanksgiving to those living in their immediate household.