Univ. of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics divide COVID-19 patients into one of three groups

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 5:39 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Almost 80 patients at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are COVID positive, an alarming number considering peak numbers.

“In our prior surge, we were as high as 100, 110. This was back in the Winter of 2020 into 2021,” said Dr. Brad Manning, a hospitalist with UIHC.

He says that’s why they started to categorize each case. The first group is reserved for people with severe symptoms. They typically require a ventilator or high amounts of oxygen for respiratory failure. Those patients are usually unvaccinated.

Dr. Manning says the second group tends to be older and vaccinated.

“Kind of a new process that we’re seeing with COVID, but looks more like prior respiratory diseases like severe influenza or something like that,” he said.

The third isn’t in the hospital for anything COVID-related.

“Those are folks who are admitted for another reason, maybe a car accident or a burn injury, and they happen to test positive for COVID,” said Dr. Manning.

They’re called incidental COVID cases. Those patients experience minor symptoms like a runny nose or none at all. Even though they aren’t in the hospital because of COVID, they are still adding to the overall numbers.

“You still have to put those patients in isolation rooms, the staff has to dress appropriately to protect themselves, there’s increased cleaning procedures,” said Dr. Manning.

Categorizing them doesn’t lessen the strain on crowded units and potential staff shortages, but it does add context to numbers on the virus.

“We’re seeing this group that did very poorly with COVID before, do better and sometimes only be hospitalized for two or three days, and again these are usually the elderly or people with significant underlying disease.”

Copyright 2022 KCRG. All rights reserved.