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UnityPoint Health: Hospitalizations up

McQuillen says beds are still available

As COVID-19 hospitalizations rapidly rise across the state of Iowa, UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center also saw an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout October, according to Shannon McQuillen, vice president of people excellence.

On a daily basis, she said, the hospital cares for between 11 and 12 hospitalized coronavirus patients, while also caring for COVID-19 patients in the emergency room and primary care clinics.

“Over the weekend we were very busy, however currently we have beds available,” McQuillen said on Monday.

She would not confirm, however, if reports that the hospital ran out of available beds at some time over the weekend were accurate. She did not confirm the number of beds the hospital has available.

As of Monday night, across the state there were 730 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 136 of those in Regional Medical Coordination Center 3, which is the region to which Webster County belongs.

In all of Region 3, which includes 20 counties in northwest Iowa, there are 465 total inpatient beds and 78 total ICU beds available, the state’s COVID-19 website said.

Across the state, there are 739 ventilators available for patients. At UnityPoint Health — TRMC, there are 11 ventilators on campus, McQuillen said, with two currently in use and the hospital has the ability to access more if needed through the UnityPoint Health system.

“As other areas of our state see increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations, we are working closely with our area hospital partners to ensure we have the necessary beds, equipment, staffing and PPE to safely care for our community, whether it is COVID-19, or other illness or injury,” she said. “We have plans in place should there be a need for additional coronavirus care.”

In July, Alyssa Stanek, UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge senior marketing communications specialist, told The Messenger that the hospital was “prepared to implement surge plans should the need arise.” The surge plans included being able to accommodate a total of 108 beds — 85 acute patients and 23 critical patients.

“In the event that we need to surge beyond our normal patient volume, we have plans ready to implement which include opening 2N (former acute care floor) for additional acute patients and spaces like our former cardiovascular operating room for critical patients,” Stanek told The Messenger in July.

On Monday, McQuillen said one issue the hospital, like other health care organizations, is facing is adequate staffing, “with an increasing number of our staff out with COVID-19 or isolating at home due to community spread.”

It is crucial for the public to understand the challenges the health care system is facing are “very real and very urgent,” she said.

“We’re at a critical point in our state’s fight against COVID-19,” she said. “It is going to take every one of us doing our part to get this virus under control.”

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