Surge of Covid patients in Iowa hospitals continues


The state’s coronavirus tracker shows more than 500 Covid patients are in an Iowa hospital today, a higher patient count than at any other time during the pandemic.

An infectious disease expert says it’s no surprise to the medical community as the total number of Covid cases identified in Iowa has jumped 28% in the past two weeks.

“Given the magnitude of the surges we have seen in recent days and the high plateaus after every surge, then this was expected to happen,” said Dr. Rossana Rosa, an infectious disease specialist at UnityPoint in Des Moines.

Rosa said a big worry is smaller hospitals won’t have the capacity to care for Covid patients, transferring them on to the state’s larger hospitals.

“Resources in our communities are limited not only in terms of the technical resources needed to support patients,” Rosa told Radio Iowa, “but also human resources to actually provide the care.”

Hospitals typically see an increase in patients with respiratory illnesses during the fall and winter. In addition to getting a flu shot, Dr. Rosa said older Iowans and those with lung conditions ask their doctor about getting a pneumonia shot as well.

As for navigating the pandemic, Dr. Rosa said “there is no silver bullet,” but a combination of measures are important, like avoiding poorly ventilated indoor settings.

“It’s still important to maintain physical distancing, avoid crowds,” she said, “wearing your face covering when you are out, washing your hands.”

The springtime peak for Covid hospitalizations in Iowa was on May 9, when 417 patients were being treated for Covid. Today’s tally of 501 is 17 percent higher than that.

Nebraska’s governor has imposed new Covid-related restrictions that go into effect tomorrow after Covid patient surges in Nebraska hospitals. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said last week that hospital capacity isn’t overwhelmed by Covid patients here. The state’s coronavirus website shows hospitals have 38% of inpatient beds open and available.

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