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Genesis Health System cautions community with increasing COVID-19 cases

Doctors say more than 50 people are hospitalized with the virus, which is up from 23 patients hospitalized at the beginning of November.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — This week, doctors at Genesis Health System are reporting more than 50 people are hospitalized because of COVID-19.

Most of those hospitalizations are at the Davenport hospital, and across the system this is the most people hospitalized since December 2020, according to Genesis doctors.

"Right now within Genesis, two-thirds or a little bit more than two-thirds of our ICU beds are occupied by COVID patients, leaving us only a third of our regular ICU capacity to take care of everything else in the community that requires critical care nursing," said Dr. Kurt Andersen, the chief medical officer for Genesis Health System.

On Tuesday, Dr. Andersen said 54 people were in Genesis hospitals with the virus. That's an increase from the health system's weekly report on Monday, where staff reported 53 people in the hospital.

Tuesday's report is also an increase from the start of November. 

On November 1, 2021, Genesis staff reported 23 people were hospitalized because of COVID-19.

"Even though it's less than half of where were last year, it's a significant challenge when it impacts very high intensive resources like our ICU," Dr. Andersen said.

Dr. Andersen said right now the health system is seeing another hospitalization surge. That means there is a sustained increase over several weeks, according to Andersen.

"Every time we go through a surge like we are now, it becomes increasingly difficult to have the resources to care for all the patients in our community," Dr. Andersen said.

It is a challenge doctors have yet to overcome.

"We're all concerned about the fact that we're not as diligent as we were a year ago with all those prevention measures," Dr. Andersen said.

He added that Genesis is seeing some of the same national trends in its local hospitals.

"We go up, we go down, we go up we go down. That's been the pattern over the last year," Dr. Andersen said.

It is a predictable pandemic pattern.

"The saddest part of this and the most frustrating part of this for health care providers is we know that many of the patients we're taking care of in the hospital could have avoided hospitalization through vaccination," Dr. Andersen said.

Genesis doctors are recommending booster shots for anyone who has been vaccinated for more than six months.

On November 16, 2020, Genesis reduced its elective procedures because of rising COVID-19 case and hospitalization numbers. Doctor Andersen says there are no plans to reduce those again right now, but heath leaders are looking at that every day.

Doctor Andersen believes it is all about allocating resources, and that there may come a time if Genesis needs to delay procedures if it will require resources like the ICU if case numbers and hospitalizations remain high.

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