There were 1392 Covid patients in Iowa hospitals Sunday evening. That’s three times as many as a month ago and nearly double the number that were hospitalized on November 1.
“I think the word unprecedented is probably being overused this past year, but the type and degree of spread that we’re seeing now in the state — it is really unprecedented,” Dr. Dan Diekema, director of the Division of Infections Diseases at the University of Iowa, said on Iowa Public Radio, “…record numbers of patients who are in the hospital with Covid-19, in our intensive care units.”
There were 271 patients in Iowa intensive care units Sunday night — a 61 percent increase from October 15. Diekema said Iowa hospitals are converting general wards to areas for Covid patients only and retraining staff who work in other areas to care for Covid patients.
“You’ll read or see on public health websites, for example, numbers of beds available or ventilators available, but often that isn’t the limiting factor,” he said. “The staffing becomes the real issue.”
This weekend, public health officials in Polk County said staffing is the biggest issue facing hospitals in Des Moines. A statement from the Polk County Public Health Department used words like “dire” and “alarming” to describe the continued escalation in cases of the coronavirus.