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Guest Columnist: COVID-19 Cases Steal Resources From Northern Iowa Residents | Chroniclers


MercyOne has a strong history of providing care to our communities in Northern Iowa and throughout the state. As the region’s largest employer, we value our team members and their tireless dedication and commitment to providing care to their families, friends and neighbors during the ongoing global pandemic.

We celebrate and recognize the efforts of healthcare workers, but the fight against COVID-19 is taking its toll. The current barriers to providing care are not the PPE or masks that healthcare workers wear to stay safe. They are not ventilators or life saving medical equipment. It is not the availability of a vaccine to prevent and protect each other.

The current barrier is the limited supply of health workers. The intensive care required by COVID-19 patients puts direct pressure on our staff and now, after more than a year, it is our healthcare providers who are suffering.

Schlader rod

Paul Manternach

Paul Manternach

Photo file

Our doctors and nurses are tired. The human resources needed to care for COVID-19 patients are tight. As of this writing, we are caring for 34 patients with COVID-19. This represents 20% of our capacity in hospital beds. Ten of these COVID-19 patients are very ill and require intensive care in our intensive care unit, using more than half of our normal intensive care beds. This means we are shifting and delaying care for elective patients in order to have the resources needed for COVID-19 and critically ill patients. Your procedure may be rescheduled or delayed due to our ability to care for other patients.

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As a community, we ask you to take all possible preventive measures.

Our doctors and caregivers will continue to fight COVID-19 and all other conditions. Eighty-eight percent of the patients in our intensive care unit are not vaccinated against COVID-19. The best way to end this stress is to take advantage of the tools available to fight the coronavirus, the flu and other preventable diseases: get yourself vaccinated.

If you are unable to get vaccinated to protect yourself and others, we ask that you remember basic precautions: Wear a mask, especially when attending indoor events. Avoid large gatherings. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently.

We ask you in northern Iowa, help us overcome the current tide and continue the fight together, as a community, to defeat this pandemic. Let’s show our strength and increase the number of people vaccinated in northern Iowa. Make your COVID-19 and flu shot appointment today at MercyOne.org/NorthIowa or visit one of our community health care partners.

Rod Schlader is the President of MercyOne North Iowa and Dr. Paul Manternach is the Chief Medical Officer of MercyOne North Iowa.

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