The latest figures show only 67 people were hospitalized Wednesday in Iowa for treatment of COVID-19, down significantly from the peak in January near 1,000 patients.
The CDC says death rates, too, are slowing dramatically. Lisa Ridge, CEO of Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City, says even after two years, coronavirus is still making a critical impact on the facility.
“While we’re grateful for these low numbers and low mortality, as a small, rural hospital with limited resources and limited ability to increase our covered lives or services rapidly,” Ridge says, “we are grappling with the ongoing effects of the pandemic.”
Since early 2020, many people have chosen to retire or quit the health care profession and the hospital has a long list of open positions, making a tough situation even more difficult for those who remain.
“From our staffing and supply challenges to decreased utilization of our services, we’ve really had to embrace and show our agility,” Ridge says. “We’ve cross-trained staff. We’re showing the ability to flex-staff between departments. We’re being creative with supplies and really with our supply chain as a whole.”
The hospital is investing in new technologies, she says, in order to support its many virtual platforms.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)