Delta patients clog hospitals, spur more procedure delays

Intermountain is the latest system to announce its putting non-emergency procedures back on hold at 13 of its hospitals

Just as patients started returning for care they delayed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are again having to put non-emergency procedures on hold to free up resources for patients hospitalized with the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare is the latest system to announce it's postponing elective procedures starting Wednesday at 13 of its hospitals, and expects the pause to last several weeks, CEO Marc Harrison said during a Friday press conference.

The system's ICUs are at more than 100% capacity and among those hospitalized with the virus, 87% are unvaccinated, Harrison said.

Intermountain follows other systems in pockets of the country like Advent Health in Florida that have chosen to cut off some of their most lucrative services in order to care for surges of COVID-19 patients. Hospitals took an major financial hit when they delayed procedures early in the pandemic, either by orders from CMS or local officials, and now some are doing so voluntarily.

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