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'The challenges we are facing are very real and very urgent': Iowa hospitals filling up with COVID patients

A record number of patients are in Iowa hospitals battling coronavirus.

FORT DODGE, Iowa — For the last several weeks, Iowa hospitals have been setting daily records for the number of coronavirus patients. Over the weekend, UnityPoint Health Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge ran out of hospital beds for COVID patients.

According to a spokeswoman for the hospital, the facility is not turning away any patients needing care. 

According to the state coronavirus website, a little more than 38% of inpatients beds are available across the state.

"As other areas of our state see increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations, we are working closely with our area hospital partners to ensure we have the necessary beds, equipment, staffing and PPE to safely care for our community, whether it is COVID-19, or other illness or injury," said Macinzie McFarland, communications specialist with UnityPoint Health. "We have plans in place should there be a need for additional coronavirus care."

As of Nov. 2, 718 patients are in Iowa hospitals. Rural doctors across the state have told Local 5 they are worried not only about our current rate of hospitalizations but where we are headed as a state.

"It’s crucial for the public to understand that the challenges we are facing are very real and very urgent," said McFarland. "We’re at a critical point in our state’s fight against COVID-19. It is going to take every one of us doing our part to get this virus under control. Please protect your family, your community, and your local health care workers by wearing a mask, washing your hands, staying home when you are sick, practicing social distancing and getting your flu shot. If we work together, we can reduce the COVID positivity numbers."

No new mitigation efforts have been imposed since August. Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters last week she wants the state to remain open.

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