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'Our hospitals are very full': Polk County health officials plead for community to help slow virus spread

A release from the Polk County Health Department says hospitalizations in the county total to 204, the highest recorded during the pandemic.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As the COVID-19 pandemic claims the livelihoods of Iowans across the state, local health officials are warning Polk County residents of staffing shortages at hospitals and clinics.

"We are pleading with the community to help us slow the spread of the virus," reads a press release from the Polk County Health Department. The department published it Saturday evening as the state reached a new high of hospitalizations with 1,279.

In Polk County alone, 204 people are hospitalized from the virus. 

County health officials say staffing is one of the biggest challenges in the county since an increasing number of staff are either sick with COVID-19 or are isolating at home.

RELATED: 'The system will be overwhelmed': Medical professionals paint grim picture of Iowa hospitals in crisis

Medical staff have been working around the clock to help patients heal from the virus, but as the pandemic rages on, those workers are getting physically and mentally exhausted from the stress. 

"Our hospitals are very full with COVID-19 patients but we are still accepting patients. If you need to be seen by a health care professional, do not hesitate to call 911 or seek medical attention at any of our hospitals and clinics," the release says. 

The best way to keep yourself and those around you healthy is to practice the mitigation efforts given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Practice social distancing
  • Stay home when you're sick
  • Get your flu shot

"The decisions we make have consequences and those could be dire. Please do your part and slow the spread of COVID-19 in Polk County," the release says. 

More information from the Polk County Health Department on COVID-19 can be found by clicking/tapping here

WATCH: Complete coronavirus coverage on Local 5's YouTube channel

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