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Genesis Health says it has no available ICU beds for Covid patients

On Monday morning, the hospital had no ICU beds left for patients with Covid. One local woman had to be airlifted all the way to Milwaukee to find a bed.

SILVIS, Ill. — On Monday afternoon, Genesis Health Systems confirmed it was currently out of hospital beds for patients hospitalized with Covid-19. One non-Covid-emergency bed remains open at each campus. 

Genesis said it currently has 24 patients hospitalized with Covid-19, and 15 of those individuals are in the ICU. It's reportedly the highest percentage of Covid patients in the intensive care unit Genesis has ever had. 

There are 26 total ICU beds between Genesis's Davenport and Silvis campuses, and several beds are currently occupied by non-Covid patients.  

Overall, Rock Island County saw a 330% increase in hospitalized Covid patients between July 30 and August 30 of 2021. 

UnityPoint Health Trinity confirmed it's closing its ICU unit in Bettendorf, to better consolidate resources and staff at the Rock Island campus. 

At UnityPoint, there were 45 patients hospitalized with Covid on Monday afternoon, with 11 in the ICU. UnityPoint is not currently releasing how many beds they have available. Of those hospitalized patients, 36 are unvaccinated.

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"Most people that are coming in, are younger, they're not vaccinated, and they're sicker. They end up in the hospital, they end up on high flow oxygen, and many of them ended up in the ICU," said Dr. Elizabeth Schupp, an ICU Medical Director for UnityPoint Health Trinity in both Bettendorf and Rock Island. 

She says while there are breakthrough cases where vaccinated people end up in the hospital with Covid-19, most of those cases are of individuals with underlying health issues. And, Dr. Schupp pointed out that the majority of breakthrough illnesses are not as severe as when an unvaccinated person is hospitalized with Covid-19. 

"It's the difference between having a cold and being put in the hospital with severe pneumonia requiring a ventilator," she said. "At this point now, so much better than a year and a half ago, we have something to prevent that. And that's the vaccine. Those patients don't need to be in our ICU, they don't need to be in the hospital, they just need to go get the vaccine."

All of this comes as the two hospital systems battle staffing shortages. As of August 19, Genesis was reporting over 370 local job openings, and UnityPoint was looking to fill over 430 Quad Cities positions. 

RELATED: Genesis and Unity Point Health Trinity both have hundreds of job openings while already experiencing worker shortages

One family, who asked to remain anonymous, told News 8 their loved one had to be flown all the way to Milwaukee to find a spot in an ICU bed. They said the 75-year-old woman had been healthy and vaccinated, but grew sick after contracting the virus and eventually pneumonia.

 After going to the Genesis Emergency Room in Silvis several times over the last week, the family was told on Monday morning that the hospital system had no ICU bed available for their loved one. They also tell News 8 that Genesis called over 30 area hospitals, looking for a bed to transfer her to, before finally flying her to Milwaukee. 

There are hospital systems in the News 8 viewing area that do currently have available ICU beds, including Cottage Hospital in Galesburg. However, Cottage and Genesis confirmed to WQAD that typically a hospital of Genesis' size wouldn't send an extremely sick patient to a smaller system, due to the resources a patient might require. 

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