There’s been a 60% increase in the number of Covid patients in Iowa hospitals so far this month. The patient count last night was 1,208, with more than 200 in intensive care and about half of ICU patients were on a ventilator.
Test results released by the state yesterday show 4,764 more Iowans have the virus — three times the national average. Public health officials are pleading with Iowans to take precautions. The hospital in Algona posted a video on its Facebook page with Dr. Rachel Venteicher, director of the Kossuth County Board of Health.
“We have been talking about washing our hands and wearing masks basically for the last eight months,” she said, “but it is really becoming important right now because we are starting to see our local cases and our regional and state cases just really take off and hospitalization numbers go up and now it is just really important that we have our community’s support and do the things that we ask of them.”
Venteicher is urging people to plan ahead and weigh the risks of gatherings for the upcoming holidays.
“We know that in larger groups, there’s just a bigger risk with passing illness, but even in smaller groups, that risk still remains,” she said. “…It might be one of those years that a virtual get together is what’s in the best interest of your family and friends.”
Dr. Venteicher, who wore a mask while recording the video, said the original plan eight months ago was to transfer Covid patients to a larger, regional hospital, but she said because of the statewide spike in Covid cases, it’s become necessary for Algona’s hospital to care for patients suffering from the virus. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics — the state’s largest facility — has recently activated its surge plan to deal with escalating numbers of patients.
Among the new coronavirus cases reported yesterday, more than 11% were either school-age children or adults who work in Iowa schools.
(Brian Wilson, KLGA, Algona contributed to this story.)