Both CEOs from UnityPoint Health -- Trinity and Genesis Health System expressed extreme concern about a recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases in the Quad City area, urging the community to wear masks in public and social distance as much as possible.
Robert "Bob" Erickson, President & CEO of UnityPoint Health – Trinity and Doug Cropper, President & CEO of Genesis Health System both emphasized the need for the Quad Cities community to wear masks in public and socially distance as much as possible in a briefing Tuesday, July 14, 2020 as intensive care unit (ICU) beds fill up in local hospitals due to an increased number of people suffering from COVID-19.
“We expect to see a continued surge," Erikson said.
"Our ICUs are pretty much full with non-COVID patients as well. As we put off elective cases as best we could, we’re seeing a phenomenon that our hospitals right now are filled with really sick people, maybe people waited too long, maybe people didn’t get health and wellness checks, maybe the stress of the situation has a kind of comorbid impact on disease state. But right now we are really stressed from an ICU perspective and are very concerned about the increase of COVID numbers that are coming in.”
Erickson said UnityPoint hit a peak of about 50 in-patients who were suffering from COVID-19 in late April before seeing one week in June with no in-patients that were COVID positive. Currently, there are 15 in-patients who have COVID-19 including five people who are in the ICU.
"The more concerning factor for us is we’re seeing a tremendous increase in positive tests in our respiratory clinics," Erikson said. "Those that are positive, there's a percentage that over the next seven to 10 days, they're going to be hospitalized, so we are preparing for another surge of hospitalized COVID patients."
Cropper said there are currently eight COVID patients in the ICU at Genesis in Davenport, a capacity of 26 with an overflow capacity of 10 beds. Cropper noted that Genesis' ICU beds are also "essentially full" with other sick patients and that the lack of space is a "warning sign" about the direction of the pandemic.
"This is one reason why Illinois is doing better than Iowa right now because Gov. Pritzker has been very diligent on opening slower and requesting mask compliance and this has had an impact on slowing the rate of COVID transmission in Illinois," Cropper.
When asked how frustrating it is that Cropper still has to work to convince the public the COVID-19 pandemic is a real issue, he said, "It's become somewhat of a political issue which is unfortunate because this is a public health care pandemic and crisis, this is not a political situation."
"I read comments or see interviews of people who think this is a conspiracy... I can't even understand that. How do you get every single hospital in the country to buy into some conspiracy. This is no conspiracy. This is a new disease we have never seen before that has the ability to overwhelm the health care systems if the community is not being very careful in managing it well."
Cropper and Erickson emphatically encouraged the Quad Cities to continue wearing masks in public and socially distancing.
Nita Ludwig, Administrator of the Rock Island County (RICO) Health Department, said the county is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19 meaning 1,248 people have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
In RICO, 30 people have died from the coronavirus and there are currently 14 people hospitalized in the county.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, 1,121 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 10 people have died.