A Cubs fan, “flower woman,”

; husbands, wives and many others who are part of more than 1,400 Iowan people who have lost COVID-19 as of early October 2020.

Register Des Moines

The leader of Iowa’s largest hospital systems said the COVID-19 surge is stretching their facilities and is in danger of getting worse.

“What we are going into is the danger zone,” Suresh Gunasekaran, executive director of the University Hospital of Iowa, told reporters.

The number of hospital admissions in Iowa for the disease caused by the coronavirus has nearly doubled in one month, according to state statistics. On Monday afternoon, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 718 people were being treated in Iowa hospitals for the disease, including 156 in intensive care units.

The number of Iowans testing positive for coronavirus also continued to skyrocket, reaching 2,800 on Saturday. Nearly half of all Iowa seeds reported a 14-day coronavirus positive rate at 15 percent or higher on Monday morning.

According to Gunasekaran, the number of people with positive test results means that hospitalizations and deaths will continue to increase for at least two weeks even as the Iowan takes more preventive measures.

Gunasekaran said the increase in COVID-19 is happening across the state and the Midwest, which limits the hospitals’ ability to help each other. And it comes just before the usual flu season starts, which can put even more stress on hospitals.

Gunasekaran said Iowan people must regularly take precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing their hands and staying away from each other.

He said he understood that the Iowan people were exhausted from the coronavirus pandemic.

“They were saying, ‘I think we’re going through the worst. I heard that vaccines are on the horizon. I think we’ve succeeded,’ he said. “And I think what the virus and pandemic are showing us is we’re not done yet.”

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recently said she believes Iowa hospitals are capable of handling the surgery.

“So far, the majority of the patients in the hospital are not involved in COVID. But we still have to manage that, especially as we are entering flu season,” Reynolds told reporters last week. .

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported on Monday that more than 3,100 hospital beds remain vacant in the state, representing nearly 39% of the total.

But hospital leaders warn that the staffing problem could reduce the supply of beds as soon as a pandemic raises demand.

Than: ‘Going to get much worse soon’: Iowa Hospital tries to keep up with record COVID-19 admissions

UnityPoint Health, one of the state’s largest health systems, also warned on Monday that its hospitals were under strain.

UnityPoint’s hospitals have yet to transfer patients to other facilities, but they are planning to take such steps if necessary, according to a statement from the system leader.

“It is important for the public to understand that the challenges we are facing are very real and very pressing,” said the UnityPoint statement.

Like other healthcare providers, their hospitals face the challenge of maintaining sufficient staff as more and more employees are sick or quarantined, UnityPoint leaders said. at home because of exposure to coronavirus.

“In addition, our employees are exhausted both physically and mentally,” UnityPoint’s statement said. “They’ve been fighting against this virus and fighting for their patients, for eight months. They continue to show up every day for you, your friends and your family.”

“The bottom line is, we need your help,” said the UnityPoint statement. “We are at a pivotal moment in our state’s war against COVID-19. Each of us must do our best to control this virus.”

Leaders of the MercyOne hospital system say they are also seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. The company said MercyOne hospitals now have sufficient resources to meet demand.

“We ask all Iowan people to help our healthcare teams slow the spread of the virus by wearing masks, avoiding crowds, maintaining social distancing. and practice hand washing regularly, “says MercyOne.

Gunasekaran, the head of the University of Iowa Hospital, said his facility has delayed some appointments for routine care and has denied some transfers from other hospitals in non-emergency situations.

He said his team is planning how to handle the spike in patient numbers, so Iowa doesn’t watch the spring tragedy in New York, when hospitals are suddenly overburdened and overwhelmed. death of the patient.

The Iowa City booster plan probably won’t include setting up spill units in the tent, as was done in New York in the spring. The University of Iowa hospitals have indoor space, he said, the question is whether it can find enough staff to properly care for patients.

Gunasekaran said the Iowans will have to keep making sacrifices to curb the pandemic. That could include anticipation tours and gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Better days are coming, he said.

“Even though the vaccine is the end of the tunnel light, we’re not sure how soon that light will get here and the entire public will receive it soon.”

Tony Leys covers health care services for Register. Contact him at or 515-284-8449.

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