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THIS WEEK: Another COVID Christmas

Despite a vaccine now available that wasn't around last year, the Quad Cities is still seeing an increase in both hospitalizations and warnings

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Quad City health care professionals say three out of five people are fully vaccinated.

And hospital intensive care units are filled with COVID patients 

"We also know that the Delta variant made people sicker and for those individuals that are getting exposed and contracting the Delta variant, and haven't yet been vaccinated, they get a lot sicker in many instances," said Thoreson.

You can hear our entire interview with Scott County Health Department Director Amy Thoreson on THE CITIES PODCAST.

Hospitals made a pre-Christmas plea for people to be safer around the holiday due to the rising numbers of cOVID cases.

"Everybody wants this to be over," said Genesis Health chief medical officer Dr. Kurt Andersen.

"Certainly I do, Our care teams do.  They're exhausted,"  

Exhausted and overworked.

"You're beginning to see the cracks because it's not easy to keep going this long for 20-months plus," said Dr. Toyosi Olutade, UnityPoint Trinity Health chief medical officer.

UnityPoint Trinity says it has had to change its 12-hour shifts to 14-hour as COVID cases are filling up the majority of hospital beds, including the vast majority of beds in ICU.

And Genesis says its seeing what UnityPoint Trinity is seeing.

"We simply can't provide the highest level of care for our community when our emergency rooms and our critical  are units, the place where our sickest patients need to be cared for, are completely overrun by patients with COVID and again, 90% of them are unvaccinated," said Dr. Andersen.

So far, medical professionals say the Delta variant is the dominant COVID strain that's impacting the unvaccinated especially hard.

"We're worried because the numbers we've seen since Thanksgiving are just on a dramatic increase and we haven't started to level off yet," said Thoreson.

"We know that that can be the case after the Christmas holiday as well as we all try to spend some time with people we haven't seen as much."

But it's the Omicron variant, not greatly seen yet in Iowa and Illinois, that could make the situation is hospitals worse.

"I would say that right now, the season of giving, the best gift you can give right now is to take necessary precautions including vaccinations, getting booster, and masking in indoor spaces," said Dr. Olutade.

Watch "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens" Sunday mornings at 10 on WQAD News 8.