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QC hospitals at full-capacity as omicron becomes dominant US variant

Hospital officials compare current case spikes to overloads the area saw last fall.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — One year into vaccine distribution and hospitals in the Quad Cities have once again at capacity. 

What exactly does that mean? Hospitals simply don't have the necessary space to care for people that are seeking medical help due to the influx of COVID-19 patients. 

"We've had an open-heart surgery postponed recently because of the bad situation," Unity Point Trinity Chief Medical Officer Dr. Toyosi Olutade said. "These are the major surgeries. We have lung cancer patients that need surgery that we have to sometimes delay now." 

There are currently 3,960 patients hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, compared to 4,389 patients this time last year. In Iowa, 823 patients were currently hospitalized as of Monday, compared to 644 patients hospitalized in 2020.

Scott County Health Department Director Amy Thoreson said she had seen cases continue to rise. 

"I'm scared that both of our hospital systems that my family and I depend on for care when we need it may not be available for us," Thoreson said. 

Unity Point Trinity Hospital system reported there were no beds available as of Monday, Dec. 20. At Genesis, a very similar situation with only 20% of ICU beds left for those who aren't ill with COVID-19.

"Patients who have acute strokes, patients who have a heart attack, patients who have a emergent surgery that requires intensive care after the surgery," Genesis Senior Vice President Dr. Kurt Andersen said. "We're reduced to 20% of our capacity to be able to manage those cases." 

Scott County reported 184 COVID-19 deaths last year, down to 121 in 2021. 

Last year in Rock Island County, 156 patients died from the virus. That number was up significantly this year, with 255 people passing away in 2021. 

It was an aggravating statistic for local health officials, given only 60% of eligible residents are vaccinated against the virus.  

Both Andersen and Olutade have pushed the vaccine for those who haven't received their doses and a booster for those that have. 

"We'll keep on keeping on. But we know that our resources and our strength is not unlimited," Olutade said. 

Both hospital systems are promising to do their best, but now asking the public to pull their weight. As of Dec. 20, 52,962 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed between Rock Island County and Scott County. 

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