A joint statement released by the Iowa Hospital Association’s physician leadership group and the Organization for Nursing Leadership asks Iowans to avoid crowds, stay home when sick and wear a mask.
Dr. Michael McCoy, chief medical officer with Great River Health in West Burlington, says his hospital’s biggest challenge has been finding enough staff to take care of COVID patients.
“We’ve already stopped doing a lot of our elective surgeries, almost all of them, not because of beds, but because of — we needed to pull staff from that area,” he says.
McCoy says 97 hospital employees were out Monday because they were either sick with the virus or needed to quarantine. Rates of new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have more than doubled in the past month.
Dr. Tammy Chance, at the Boone County Hospital, says her goal this past summer was to get people to follow precautions so they could spend the holidays with family.
“I know this sounds morbid, but now my goal is to get people to take this seriously, so they don’t have an extra grave to visit of a close friend or loved one come next Memorial Day,” she says.
Chance says there were a few days last week when her region nearly ran out of ICU beds, and her hospital has faced critical staffing shortages related to the virus.
As of today, more than 1,300 Iowans were hospitalized with the virus, with nearly 270 in ICUs. Some 200 patients were hospitalized for the virus statewide in the past 24 hours.
(By Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio)