116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Hospitals in the Corridor were beginning to resume normal operations on Wednesday after this week's storm, but the widespread damage likely will keep area clinics from resuming services in the coming days.
With the power restored to both Cedar Rapids hospitals by Wednesday afternoon, officials with Mercy Medical Center and UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital said they would resume elective surgeries and other services that temporarily were unavailable as a result of the storm.
The hospitals were relying on backup generators earlier this week to manage critical and emergency patient care after the storm caused serious damage to the city's power grid. Elective surgeries scheduled for Monday and Tuesday that had been postponed, and clinic services largely were unavailable.
» WHAT CLINICS ARE OPEN?: What's open, closed in Cedar Rapids following the storm
In Iowa City, the main campus at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics did not lose power. Officials said some generators were started and put into use as a precautionary measure.
Jennifer Miller, UI Health Care assistant director for support services, said surgical procedures occurred as scheduled and the storm largely 'did not impact our ability to provide care for patients.'
Mercy Iowa City did not lose power at its hospital, and intermittent phone connectivity issues had been resolved late Tuesday.
Hospital officials did not cancel any procedures this week. However, spokeswoman Margaret Reese said a few patients did cancel services because they were unable to leave their homes.
Services in Cedar Rapids will resume even as the hospitals continue to assess the storm damage to its buildings.
St. Luke's Hospital sustained 'significant roof, window and water damage,' officials said Wednesday, adding repairs are underway. Affiliated facilities and clinics also sustained storm damage, but the full extent still is being assessed.
Dr. Timothy Quinn, chief of clinical operations for Mercy Medical Center, said officials have so far determined its buildings had sustained only superficial damage, including water damage in some parts of the hospital.
Urgent care, other clinics still closed
While appointments and surgeries at the main hospital campuses scheduled for Thursday and beyond will resume, urgent care and other associated clinics in the surrounding area will be closed for the foreseeable future due to power and phone outages.
Providers at clinics still without power are working to reach out to patients to reschedule appointments.
Among those that still are not operational are St. Luke's COVID-19 Sample Acquisition Clinic as well as all UnityPoint clinics and urgent cares in the Cedar Rapids metro area, spokeswoman Sarah Corizzo said.
Quinn said reopening Mercy Medical's clinics will depend on repairs and how soon the power is returned to those areas.
Mercy has established a phone line for patients to call if they had questions regarding their appointments at (319) 398-6497, available every day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Steady stream of ER patients
Hospitals reported abnormally high patient volumes in their emergency rooms this week after hundreds of patients arrived with storm-related injuries, the majority of which are as a result of the cleanup, including lacerations, injuries from falls and bumps on the head.
St. Luke's Hospital's emergency room saw more than 200 patients on Monday and Tuesday as a result of the storm.
Staff at Mercy Medical Center saw nearly 250 total visits on Tuesday, about 60 percent of which are related to injuries. According to spokeswoman Karen Vander Sanden, that is the highest volume of emergency room patients the hospital has ever seen.
UIHC also reported patients presenting with storm-related injuries in the past 48-hours, the majority of which were bone and joint injuries as a result of falls, said Dr. Christopher Hogrefe, UIHC emergency department physician.
'Many of these injuries occurred while attempting to secure property and/or insure the safety of family, pets, etc.,' Hogrefe said. 'However, there have also been several patients treated due to injuries sustained in the cleanup process as well.'
At Mercy Iowa City, officials did report a few patients on Monday, including those with lacerations and a truck driver whose rig overturned in the storm. Providers have not reported any critical emergency cases among emergency room patients since Monday, Reese said.
In addition to acute injuries, the hospitals in the area are reporting a portion of their patients arriving in the emergency room are those with chest pain or labored breathing. Many of these individuals had underlying health conditions, such as heart and lung disease, that was exasperated during cleanup efforts.
All area hospitals are preparing for more patients this week as cleanup conditions and the compounding effects of no power in residents' homes are felt.
'We are not telling people to stay away,' Quinn said. 'The emergency room is well staffed and prepared to take care of patients, so we don't want to discourage people that are ill or have injuries from coming in.'
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