Amid surging infections and Covid-19 hospital admissions in Utah, a handful of virus “truthers” tried to gain access to the Utah Valley Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) last week.
“It’s conspiracy theorists that believe what they’re being told is not accurate,” said hospital administrator, Kyle Hansen, when updating Provo City Council on the facility’s pandemic response.
“They’re determined to videotape and capture the proof of that by accessing our facilities. We’ve had some people get really creative in how they’ve lied about coming in for an appointment or other things.”
Provo police said they have received eight reports of people trying to trespass at the hospital since May.
Anyone caught attempting to enter the hospital unlawfully could face misdemeanour charges, detective Kevin Fernandez said, although it is the responsibility of the hospital to press charges.
The “truthers” descended on the facility with the intent of “confirming fake conspiracy theories — such as hospitals are not busy”, said Mr Hansen.
They cited an empty car park as evidence the hospital was not busy and its ICU is not nearing capacity.
Coronavirus infections have been soaring across the US in recent weeks and Utah reported some 3,000 new cases on 18 November, according to official figures.
Intermountain Healthcare, which runs Utah Valley Hospital, was earlier this week forced to draft in 200 nurses from New York to deal with the increased workload.
Utah Department of Health data show there are 541 people hospitalised with confirmed Covid-19 in the state.
Almost 85 per cent of ICU beds are occupied and nearly half of those patients are being treated for Covid-19.
In total, 742 people have died from the disease in Utah. Among those is Patrice Grossman, a mother of five who worked at the same Utah Valley Hospital the conspiracy theorists tried to enter.
“They’re idiots,” Ms Grossman’s widower, Ben Grossman said of the conspiracy theorists.
He told The Daily Beast: “The hospital is filled with Covid people. Covid patients who don’t have cars … I just don’t understand people sometimes.”
He added: “The big thing I think is so silly about all this is how could this possibly be fake? The whole world would have to be faking it.”
Patrice Grossman died at the hospital on 30 October. She was born at the hospital and worked in its ICU, her family said.