The Covid patient count in Iowa hospitals hit another high last night: 912. That’s a 22 percent jump from November 1st. There was also a significant increase in the daily count of newly identified Covid cases in Iowa, with 44 percent of those being tested getting a positive result.
“It is not a good trend,” Suresh Gunasekaran, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics CEO, said. “…The fact that number is increasing is very troubling.”
The University of Iowa Hospitals operates a testing clinic for Covid and other flu-like illnesses. More than a thousand people were tested at the clinic Wednesday — the highest one-day total ever. Gunasekaran said they will double staffing at that testing site.
“We’re moving some pretty significant numbers from one area to another in order to make this happen,” he said.
Twenty-seven hospital staff tested positive for Covid on Wednesday. Anticipating a continuing surge of Covid patients, the hospital in Iowa City will expand its intensive care unit on November 16, with the possibility of doubling it to 200 beds if needed.
Gunasekaran said it appears there is “substantial exhaustion” among Iowans about taking simple steps, like wearing a mask in public, to reduce the spread of the virus.
“The fact that this infection rate is so high, that it is so robust across all Iowa communities means that enough Iowans are not taking this seriously,” he said.
Gunasekaran said public health officials are looking for “innovative ways” to combat that exhaustion and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with Covid patients. Governor Reynolds announced yesterday she would launch a new public awareness campaign next week.