CORONAVIRUS

University of Iowa caring for 17 coronavirus inpatients

That brings total COVID-19 inpatients to 27

Officials of the University of Iowa Health Care complex, seen above, announced on Tuesday it is caring for 17 COVID-19 p
Officials of the University of Iowa Health Care complex, seen above, announced on Tuesday it is caring for 17 COVID-19 patients, an uptick from the six reported last week. The Gazette) ¬

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on Tuesday said it has 17 inpatients with COVID-19, a marked uptick over the six it reported a week ago.

That increase brings the total number UIHC has treated as COVID-19 inpatients to 27, up from 13 a week ago.

Mercy Iowa City has treated 30 COVID-19 inpatients, including two currently hospitalized and one awaiting test results.

Of the UI Health Care patients who have been tested for COVID-19, 11 percent have tested positive. The hospital has screened more than 6,100 patients for flu-like symptoms via its telehealth tools.

It has seen more than 1,700 in a flu-like illness clinic it set up to keep COVID-19 patients separate from the hospital’s general population.

On Monday alone, that clinic reported 138 visits. UIHC via telemedicine screened 320 people with flu-like symptoms Monday.

Mercy Iowa City has provided more than 2,000 telehealth visits and, like other health care facilities across the region and nation, it has reconfigured portions of its campus to prepare for a potential surge in patients.

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Specifically, Mercy has converted 28 private rooms to have negative air flow, in addition to two operating suites. Its intensive care unit’s capacity now sits at 16 rooms, according to spokeswoman Margaret Reese.

Expanded use of masks

UI Health Care on Tuesday announced that, by the end of the week, it will provide face shields to all its employees who are working on campus. Those will go to everyone, not just those caring for patients, because its epidemiology experts “believe that face shields are the best way to keep our teams protected from the spread of COVID-19.”

Until now, only faculty and staff caring for patients had face shields.

“We’re expanding this to provide shields to all employees to help reduce the risk of asymptomatic spread, as well as protect our team members from COVID-19,” according to a UIHC announcement on the distribution.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged Americans to wear face masks or cloth coverings in public, UIHC officials stressed those are not a substitute for personal protective equipment in a health care setting.

“UI Health Care will allow our staff to wear cloth masks, in addition to face shields.”

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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