Intermountain Healthcare Update: Spike in Respiratory Illness at Primary Children’s and Utah Hospitals Renews Call for Prevention Efforts, Vaccine

As influenza and COVID cases spike and an unseasonal wave of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) continues in Utah, more adults and children are requiring hospitalization and acute care, straining already stretched resources at Intermountain Healthcare hospitals and clinics across the state.

More children in Utah and throughout the Intermountain West are requiring advanced pediatric and critical care, as well as longer hospitalization times, straining resources at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, as well as Intermountain hospitals across Utah. 

Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is the only acute care pediatric hospital in Utah and the Intermountain West, serving patients in a large multi-state area including Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Nevada. 

For each of the past three weeks, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital has rescheduled approximately 50 pre-scheduled, non-emergency procedures and surgeries that would require an inpatient stay to help free up beds and caregivers needed to help the surge of sick children.

This equates to about 10 percent of all surgeries and procedures at the hospital each week. Patients who urgently need surgeries and procedures will continue to receive them.

Other Intermountain hospital ICUs across the state are currently around 90 percent of capacity with respiratory and influenza patients – levels normally not seen until peak flu periods in January or February.
In addition to the unprecedented pediatric surge in RSV, influenza cases are rising sharply and causing severe respiratory illness in children and adults. COVID infections also continue to require acute care for some patients. 

Physicians in Utah and across the nation are alarmed by the limitations in treatment options. Monoclonal antibodies are no longer effective against circulating strains of COVID-19 virus, and the CDC issued guidance yesterday to prioritize antiviral treatments against influenza, which are in dwindling supply nationally. There have been shortages of children’s antiviral medications leading to a reformulation of adult doses, potentially adding additional strain on those supplies.

In light of these situations, Intermountain experts are urging people to get their influenza vaccine and COVID boosters. When treatment options become limited, prevention with vaccines is the best way for people to protect themselves, reducing infections, and lowering the risk of severe complications, such as hospitalization.

– English: 11 am, MT, Thursday, December 15, 2022
– Spanish: 3:15 pm, MT, Thursday, December 15, 2022

– Dr. Per Gesteland, pediatric hospitalist at University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital
– Dr. Tamara Sheffield, medical director for preventive medicine at Intermountain Healthcare

– Dr. Wing Province, emergency medicine physician at Intermountain Park City Hospital and Regional Senior Medical Director for Emergency Medicine for Intermountain Healthcare


Zoom invitations sent to media.

Intermountain Healthcare experts will speak to RSV, influenza, and COVID cases spikes, as well as importance of vaccination.