Univ. of Iowa Health Care Update on Omicron Variant
University of Iowa Health Care is urging people to continue following CDC guidelines due to the spike in omicron COVID-19 cases.
University of Iowa Health Care is urging people to continue following CDC guidelines due to the spike in omicron COVID-19 cases. The current surge is putting even more strain on busy hospitals, clinics, and employees.
Chief Pharmacy Officer, Mike Brownlee, says the hospital system in Iowa City has around 50 patients with the coronavirus infection. And every COVID-19 patient who's on a ventilator has not been vaccinated.
Brownlee says those who have not been vaccinated yet should get the shot, in part, to help hospitals maintain their capacity to take care of seriously ill patients. Not only to health care workers have to call in sick when they have COVID-19 symptoms, they also have to stay home and take care of their children or other family members when they get sick.
Currently, the University of Iowa employment web page shows more than 500 openings in patient care positions. And the organization is offering nurses $7,500 to $20,000 sign-on incentives.
Doctor Daniel Diekema is an infectious disease specialist at University of Iowa Health Care. He says the peak of the omicron surge in the entire country is likely to to occur in mid-January. But in the Midwest, he expects it in late January and early February.
Both emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated including third shots or boosters, wearing masks when indoors in public places, social distancing, and staying home when sick.
Diekema says more than 70% of current COVID-19 cases in Iowa are now the omicron variant. He hopes these infections produce milder symptoms than delta, but the data in the US is not definitive on that point yet.
Brownlee also says around 90% of the hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated. And every single patient who's on a ventilator in the Iowa City hospital's ICU has not been vaccinated.