State Issues Public Health Order Allowing Hospitals and Physicians to Resume Some Elective Surgeries

SALT LAKE CITY (April 21, 2020) – In accordance with recommendations issued by the Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission and the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force, Gov. Gary R. Herbert directed the Utah Department of Health to issue an update to its public health order of March 23, which suspended elective procedures. 

The updated order allows for the resumption of some elective procedures pursuant to guidelines established in consultation with the Utah Hospital Association, the Utah Medical Association, the Utah Dental Association, and other medical providers. 

“I would like to express my gratitude to Utah’s medical providers for their understanding and willingness to postpone procedures in order to conserve equipment, medications and hospital space,” Gov. Herbert said. “While we are not out of the woods yet, we also understand that many of the procedures that have been postponed are medically necessary. At this time, we believe we can cautiously resume certain procedures.” 

Utah’s hospitals, doctors, dentists and other providers began, on their own accord to postpone elective procedures over one month ago in order to conserve hospital space, medications, as well as the masks, gloves, gowns, and other protective equipment Utah might need in preparation for a surge of COVID-19 patients. 

“This updated order allows for some medical procedures to resume in a measured and cautious way,” said Gen. Jefferson Burton, interim executive director of the Utah Department of Health. “Major hospital systems report sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet near term needs, and data show the growth in new hospitalizations due to COVID-19 has decreased and the statewide percentage of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds has stabilized below 20 percent.” 

You can view the full order, and its guidance regarding procedures, here. You can also view the Utah Hospital Association’s roadmap for resuming elective procedures here.