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COVID-19 hospitalization rate reaching earlier highs again in Cedar Rapids

Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, pictured on March 19, 2020. (MARY GREEN/KCRG)
Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, pictured on March 19, 2020. (MARY GREEN/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 10:48 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 hit a new high for the pandemic, and that trend is being reflected in one local hospital, according to officials.

As of Wednesday, there are 449 people hospitalized statewide with the virus, according to statistics provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health. 112 of those patients are in intensive care units. The number of people on ventilators is 39, which is down slightly from 42 yesterday and relatively flat in recent weeks.

These record-high hospitalizations are impacting capacity at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. Dr. Timothy Quinn, a 15-year veteran of the staff at the hospital, said they’ve seen levels of patients like what they say early in the pandemic- in March and April.

“Right now, we’re not at our capacity but we’re probably pretty close.” Quinn said.

But the hospital is still at 25% capacity.

Quinn also said the patients that are ending up in the hospital aren’t just from nursing homes anymore. He said older people and those with underlying health conditions are still impacted, but younger people are also now ending up in the hospital. Quinn said people are surviving at higher rates because they’ve kept people off ventilators and started using steroids to treat the virus, which early on wasn’t the protocols.

Quinn said that he has noticed an age split in adhering to face coverings and social distancing, with older people tending to take the public safety guidance seriously.

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