Iowa Hospitalizations Increase as State Fair and School Approach

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Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines was at or near capacity most of July due to an increase of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other illnesses.

The medical facility announced Monday it would suspend elective surgeries because of a “high census” in the hospital. Elective surgeries are operations scheduled in advance because they aren’t emergencies, but can still be life-saving and necessary.

Across Iowa, COVID cases are filling up hospitals, though no others have announced capacity issues.

As of Aug. 7, 247 adult patients were in the hospital with confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Iowa Covid-19 Tracker. Five pediatric patients were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 infections, and nine others were hospitalized with suspected positive COVID cases. Back in mid-July, the number hovered in the 70s.

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Total cases will probably increase with the Iowa State Fair starting on Aug. 12, where vaccinations aren’t required and face masks are only recommended. Additionally, the reopening of schools where masks are optional and social distancing will be harder.

As of Aug. 4, most of Iowa’s hospitalizations are in Polk and Black Hawk Counties, according to the Iowa COVID-19 tracker.

Health officials in Iowa say they’re braced for another surge.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads rapidly through unvaccinated populations, which are now largely young people and children under 12 who cannot yet be vaccinated.

In Southern states where COVID cases have been surging, many hospitals are struggling to take care of everyone who needs it. At Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston, staff are preparing tents for handling overflow patients.

Hospitals in Florida and Louisiana, the states with the biggest outbreaks, have suspended elective surgeries. Florida children’s hospitals report being overwhelmed.

Missouri’s surge is slowing, according to data from the New York Times, but the state still averages 36 people hospitalized per 100,000 with a daily average of 2,186 over the last seven days. A hospital administrator there said staff are seeing patients in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, that they’re sicker now and many aren’t vaccinated.


by Nikoel Hytrek

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