State Restricts Non-urgent Surgeries

Person having a wisdom tooth extracted

In order to preserve masks, gloves and other protective equipment for medical professionals assisting in the fight against COVID-19, the Utah Department of Health has announced restrictions on medical, dental, and veterinary procedures that are non-urgent.

“I genuinely appreciate the willingness of Utah’s major healthcare systems, and many individual doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and other health providers, to act proactively to help us preserve the masks, gowns, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) that will be necessary in the coming days and weeks to protect our front-line doctors, nurses and other health workers and ensure they stay healthy and able to care for patients,” Gov. Gary R. Herbert said.

Businesses, whether in healthcare, construction, or other industries, can donate unused PPE.

“I also appreciate the patience of Utahns who were planning procedures that will now be delayed,” the governor added. “Although the term ‘elective’ indicates something that is non-essential, I realize this will still be an inconvenience, and for that I am sorry. As we look at the experiences of other states and regions of the world, it’s clear that those who are proactive in securing a supply of PPE are far better equipped when they see a surge of COVID-19 patients being admitted to hospitals.” 

“Postponing non-essential procedures is a crucial step to help our health systems preserve PPE, and other resources that are crucial in our efforts to treat patients with coronavirus,” said Dr. Joseph Miner, executive director of the Utah Department of Health. 

According to guidance by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, examples of elective procedures include colonoscopies, cataracts, endoscopies, and other procedures that can be delayed without endangering patients. 

This order is effective March 25 through April 25, 2020. You can view the full order here.