Reuters

With Utah posting record hospitalizations, according to the Utah Department of Health, conspiracy theorists tried to enter a hospital to prove the recent COVID-19 case surge was a hoax.

Utah is recruiting medical professionals from out of state and has reported that 85% of its intensive-care-unit beds are being used, with almost half related to COVID-19.

According to the statement from Intermountain Healthcare, “although these situations are few and isolated, stopping attempts to gain inappropriate access and responding to fake conspiracy theories diverts attention from providing lifesaving care provided at the hospitals.”

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Conspiracy theorists have been attempting to sneak into the intensive-care unit at a hospital in Provo, Utah, according to the local news station KSL.

At a Provo City Council meeting last week, the Utah Valley Hospital administrator Kyle Hansen was providing an update on the hospital’s COVID-19 response and said roughly five people attempted to sneak into the hospital, questioning whether the ICUs were full, KSL reported.

In a statement sent to Business Insider, Intermountain Healthcare, which owns Utah Valley Hospital and is Utah’s largest healthcare system, said a few people “have attempted to gain physical access to the facility with the intent try to confirm fake conspiracy theories — such as hospitals are not busy and that reports of the COVID-19 surge are false.”

KSL also reported that officials had confirmed that hospital staff members had fielded phone calls from callers pushing conspiracies about the COVID-19 surge and shortage of ICU beds in the state.

“You really can only get in if you’re here for an appointment yourself or you have to be listed in a log that we track as a designated visitor for a patient,” Hansen told the Provo City Council last week. “But we’ve had some people get pretty creative in how they’ve lied about coming in for an appointment or other things.”

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The Provo police confirmed that since May there had been eight calls regarding people trespassing into the hospital. The police added that those caught could face misdemeanor charges.

Overall, there is a broader pattern of confrontational COVID-19 disinformation, including the #filmyourhospital trend, a web of conspiracy theories charging that hospitals and state officials are faking COVID-19 admittance rates as part of a hoax.

Because of Utah’s stressed medical system, Intermountain Healthcare also announced this week that 200 ICU nurses from New York City had flown in to help treat COVID-19 patients.

Utah is experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases as well as hospitalizations. According to the Utah Department of Health, a record-high 503 people are hospitalized in the state because of COVID-19. According to Utah’s COVID-19 dashboard as of Monday, nearly 85% of all ICU beds statewide were in use, with roughly half being used by COVID-19 patients. The latest positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is about 25%, with an estimated 49,575 active cases across the state.

The statement from Intermountain Healthcare said that “although these situations are few and isolated, stopping attempts to gain inappropriate access and responding to fake conspiracy theories diverts attention from providing lifesaving care provided at the hospitals.”

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