QC health leaders prepare for surge in coronavirus hospitalizations

Health officials in the Quad-Cities are preparing for a surge in hospitalizations as cases spike in Scott and Rock Island counties.

Nita Ludwig, administrator of the Rock Island County Health Department, said Tuesday during a briefing from the Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition that the Quad Cities is entering the third week of an increase in daily coronavirus cases.

“We are now experiencing daily totals of upwards of 28 in Rock Island County and 40-45 in Scott,” she said during the briefing. “This trend is serious. This trend is dangerous. And this trend does not appear to be ending anytime soon.”

She said that while a majority of the recent cases have been individuals around age 30 and younger, “we don’t expect this to be the case long-term.”

"As we know, younger individuals socialize with friends, visit their family members including grandparents and other older relatives, and work in a variety of settings including restaurants and other hospitality settings that are frequented by individuals of all ages,” Ludwig said.

Young individuals who may not show symptoms of the coronavirus could unknowingly be spreading it to any of those individuals, she said. “This unintentional spread is becoming very real as our case numbers continue to rise,” Ludwig said. A natural consequence of a surge in positive cases is an increase in hospitalizations, she said. 

“This typically happens 8-10 days after an increase in cases, and we fully expect this to be the case in our community,” she said. “A natural consequence to an increase in hospitalizations is the potential for COVID-19 related deaths. The public health and health care communities are doing everything we can to prevent both of these outcomes.”

Ed Rivers, director of the Scott County Health Department, said Tuesday that “our efforts mean nothing unless we have the support of the community. “We need your help now more than ever,” he said.

Rivers suggested several things you can do to protect those most vulnerable in the community:

  •  Make careful decisions when you go out.It would be great to get together with your former college crew at a popular restaurant dinner. It’s annoying to have to cancel those types of gatherings if you can’t social distance. But cancel them anyway.
  • Think carefully about who you put at risk.Grandparents, family members, or friends with health conditions like asthma, are all more likely to get seriously ill if the virus spreads to them. 
  • Wear a face covering to reduce the likelihood that you will unknowingly spread the virus to others.Wearing a mask is inconvenient. It is not 100 percent effective at keeping you from spreading illness if you’re sick and don’t know it. But it studies show it’s safer than not wearing one. So wear one anyway.
  • STAY HOME if you’ve been told you’re a contact to a positive COVID-19 case.It’s inconvenient to stay home even if you don’t have symptoms. Fourteen days is a long time to stay home when you feel like your normal, healthy self. STAY HOME ANYWAY. You could be saving the life of someone else who might not survive if they get the virus from you.

“We’ve never asked our community to do these types of things before. But then again, we haven’t been in this type of a pandemic before,” Rivers said.

“We must make the hard decisions. There’s no other way around the situation we are in. Please do your part to help stop the spread of this virus.”

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