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Doug Cropper, Head of Genesis Health System, on COVID-19

Genesis Health System
Genesis Health System employees pause for a photo while operating a drive through testing site in Moline.

Despite caring for patients with COVID-19, local hospitals are half full and losing money. But even though the pandemic is ruining the budget, Doug Cropper, the head of Genesis Health System, is in no hurry for business to return to normal.

Michelle O'Neill reports Genesis operates six hospitals in the Quad Cities area. And while many employees have been quarantined at home, others have taken on new responsibilities.

Credit submitted / Genesis Health System
Genesis Health System
Doug Cropper, Pres. & CEO of Genesis Health System

Doug Cropper, the President and CEO of Genesis Health System, says six employees have tested positive for COVID-19. And at least five of those cases were from community spread, not from their workplaces.

Currently, the peak of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Iowa is projected to occur the first week of May. And for now, he says Genesis has enough personal protective equipment. And social distancing has been very effective in helping slow the spread of the infection.

Cropper acknowledges the economic impact is "brutal" for anyone who works in businesses, such as hotels and restaurants. But reopening the economy too soon could cause a second wave of cases, similar to the Spanish Flu, 100 years ago. 

Credit submitted / Genesis Health System
Genesis Health System
An employee from Sears Seating in Davenport works to make cloth masks.

He's also not sure all cases of COVID-19 have been counted, and the lack of testing early in the pandemic affected that.

He and other local health officials also note how the importance of public health has been downplayed.

Cropper trusts experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and local epidemiologists to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for others. 

He hopes there's no second wave of COVID-19 in the U.S. Instead he thinks it's more likely we'll see a new first wave of something else because there are lots of nasty bugs out there, and we're a world wide economy.

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