The strain of COVID-19 care on local health systems is starting to rear its head outside intensive care units.
Officials from Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health-Trinity confirmed Monday a prolonged, high number of COVID-19 patients — coupled with an overall increase of patients in intensive care units — have impacted local elective care.
As of Monday, the area's two largest health care providers had a combined 85 COVID-19 hospitalized patients — 44 at Trinity and another 41 at Genesis. The health systems also reported 28 of those patients occupied ICU beds — 15 at Trinity and 13 at Genesis.
According to spokesperson Brian Boesen, UnityPoint Health-Trinity is "operating elective procedures at 75% capacity."
Genesis Health System echoed Trinity.
" ... from time to time, we have had to limit or postpone, as well as cancel, some elective procedures. As we have had to be throughout the pandemic, we are fluid and respond to challenges on a day-by-day basis," Genesis Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kurt Andersen said Monday.
Andersen and Boesen said emergency services had not been curtailed because of the increased need for ICU care.
Genesis provided more detail on its ICU patients. Nine patients are in Davenport, while the other four are in Silvis. Of the 13 ICU patients, seven were on ventilators Monday.
"Our COVID census has been holding pretty steady over the past week. The number of COVID-positive patients, in addition to an overall high hospital census in general, continues to stretch our staff resources," Andersen said. "The ICU census remains our pressure point. On occasion over the past three weeks, we have had to stabilize and transfer ICU patients to other facilities to receive care."
Andersen detailed some of the care COVID-19 patients are receiving.
"On a positive note, we are working to prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations with outpatient polyclonal antibody infusion treatments for high-risk COVID patients and a COVID-19 Safe at Home program that monitors at-risk COVID patients at home to help reduce their need for emergency department visits, hospitalizations and ICU care," Andersen said. "We have had these programs in place since November 2020. The programs were instrumental in helping us manage our COVID-19 hospital census during the surge last November, for example."
UnityPoint Health-Trinity also offered more details about its COVID-19 patients.
Through Sept. 7, the health system's positivity rate landed at 21.3% — far above the positivity rates of Scott and Rock Island counties, which are hovering between 8% and 9%.
Boesen said despite the demands brought by COVID-19, UnityPoint Health-Trinity is encouraging people to maintain annual wellness exams and other health screenings.
MetroLINK vaccine clinic
As a follow-up to its Aug. 26 vaccine clinic held at Centre Station, MetroLINK will team with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department of Public Health to host a second vaccine clinic from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16.
The clinic is free to the public, and walk-ins are welcome. Second-dose Pfizer and one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available. Metro is offering a free monthly bus pass for October and a gift card to Meli’s Pancake House for those receiving the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Fares will be waived for those using Metro to and from the vaccine clinic.