QCA mayors join together in ‘call to action’ to slow COVID-19 spread

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 7:07 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES (KWQC) - Local leaders and health professionals in the Quad Cities are putting out a call to action as COVID-19 trends in the area continue to increase.

“The trend is going in the wrong direction,” Doug Cropper, President & CEO of Genesis Health System, said at the QC Coalition press briefing on Thursday, “Our volumes of positive patients on a daily basis is tripled what they were four weeks or six weeks ago.”

According to QC Coalition health professionals, the QCA is nearing a critical inflection point in the pandemic as the numbers of hospitalizations, positivity rate, and number of cases continue to climb.

“Over the past two weeks, our daily inpatient COVId-19 census has gone from the teens per day to the twenties to the mid to high thirties this week. These are the highest number of COVId-19 census so far since the pandemic began at genesis,” Cropper said.

With more people becoming infected, and spending time in the hospital to recover instead of at home, concerns over disruptions to hospital services and resources are rising.

“What we’re seeing right now is our ability to handle what’s coming to us is being really taxed significantly,” Cropper said.

In a sign of unity, the mayors of Davenport, Moline, Bettendorf, and Rock Island joined together at Thursday’s press briefing putting out a call to action.

“We need to reset and refocus. This is a call to action by all of us to do that. We want to keep things open. But we need your help. And we need your help now so that our healthcare professionals, our first responders, are not overwhelmed,” Mayor Mike Matson said.

Those leaders are encouraging the same recommendations since march: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.

“Please remember your local businesses when you’re spending money and keep COVID-19 protocols in mind when you’re shopping, eating at restaurants, or picking up food to go. We’re all in this together. Please do your part,” Mayor Stephanie Acri of Moline said.

Without a vaccination, health leaders say these guidelines are the only way forward.

“You control where we go from here. Each of us owe it to each other and our community to listen to public health guidance,” Janet Hill, Chief Operating Officer for the Rock Island County Health Dept., said.

Below is information provided by the Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition:

Current Status of COVID-19 in the Quad Cities

QC COVID-19 Coalition partners from public health, healthcare, and city leaders are making a collaborative call to action for our community, in the face of steeply climbing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

· From the beginning of the pandemic, we have had two goals for our community:

1. To slow the spread of COVID-19.

2. To prevent overwhelming the capability of our health care system.

· We are nearing a critical inflection point after which our health care system may not be able to adequately respond to the demands placed upon it. As COVID cases continue to rise, the flu season is beginning. This will increase the demands on our health care system and further challenge our community.

Local Health System Status

Three trends that are concerning at Genesis:

· Rising hospitalizations. Over the past two weeks, daily inpatient census of COVID-19 patients has gone from the teens and 20s to consistently in the mid-to-high 30s. These are the highest numbers of positive COVID inpatients so far.

· Positivity rate for symptomatic patients. We consider 10% of COVID tests coming back positive to be a warning sign. Genesis' 7-day average for positive tests is running at 12%.

· Record number of people being tested for COVID-19. Last two weeks we are averaging almost 500 tests per day. When you combine a high positivity rate with a large number of tests ordered, we know we are headed in the wrong direction. About 15% of these positive tests become hospitalized patients, and we know some will end up in the ICU for long periods.

What our community needs to understand about these numbers and why we need their help:

· Hospital lengths of stay are typically long for COVID-19 patients. You can only add so many COVID patients requiring extended ICU care before the ICU reaches capacity. Remember that other patients, not just COVID-19 patients, also need ICU care such as heart surgery and trauma patients.

· Surge Plans: We have extensive contingency plans to prepare for a COVID-19 patient surge. However putting our surge plans into effect will create a disruption of services because staff would have to be re-allocated to other areas to care for these additional COVID patients.

· If these trends continue, you or a family member may need a hospital service that would be temporarily suspended or delayed due to a COVID surge.

· The rise in COVID patients in October is straining our staff and wearing them out. This is a marathon and not a sprint, and we need to be prepared for 6-9 more months of this before a COVID vaccine helps us reach herd immunity.

· Our staff has responded heroically over the past seven months. Their dedication and resilience, especially when our COVID patients and families are going through so much themselves.

· Until there is an effective vaccine, the best we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is wear a mask in public, socially distance, wash our hands, and avoid risky behavior of gathering without wearing a mask or social distancing. Also, get a flu shot. The symptoms of seasonal influenza and COVID-19 can be similar. If you get a flu shot and still show symptoms, call a provider about being tested for COVID-19.

· Even though UnityPoint-Trinity CEO Bob Erickson could not make it today, your community’s health systems are collaborating to care for this community. Genesis and UnityPoint leadership are in frequent contact -- whether it is refining regional surge plans, monitoring ICU bed census in our area, or, most recently, planning for the administration of a COVID vaccine once it reaches approval. I know Bob shares in my concerns about rising positivity rates in our area and echoes our call to the public to be extra vigilant about staying safe.

Statement from UnityPoint Health – Trinity President & CEO, Robert J. Erickson

“UnityPoint Health – Trinity continues to monitor the ongoing shortage of intensive care beds throughout our EMA regions in Iowa and Illinois. We continue to experience elevated COVID-19 inpatient numbers as well as other intensely sick members of our communities. As all hospitals are facing the same challenges, transferring patients to other facilities for care is a growing concern for all of us as we activate our surge plans to accommodate the needs of our patients safely. As healthcare providers, we are doing everything we can to ensure we have the resources necessary to serve our communities – but we need the community’s help. We urge you to do your part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon and when you protect yourselves and others, you are literally saving lives while helping us and other health systems provide care for COVID-19 patients as well as all patients who need it. Please social distance, wash your hands, wear a mask around others and avoid large gatherings…this is a winnable fight but we all need to do our part and we will all make it through this together.”

Call to Action for Quad Cities Residents

Please listen to public health guidelines: Wear a mask. Watch your distance – stay at least 6 feet from others. Wash your hands often. Get tested if you are experiencing symptoms – stay home until you receive you test results. If you are asked to quarantine or isolate, stay home for the entire period to keep from spreading the virus to others

Continue to Support Our Community: Remember our local businesses when spending money. Keep COVID-19 recommendations in mind when shopping, eating at a restaurant, or picking up food to go

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