MASON CITY, Iowa - MercyOne North Iowa is recognizing something of a COVID-19 milestone. The hospital is celebrating no COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit for the first time since last March.
President & CEO Rod Schlader attributes that development to the public's willingness to wear masks, social distance, wash their hands and observe safety guidelines. He also points out that the hospital did not experience a predicted post-holiday surge. While there are currently 9 active COVID-19 patients in acute care, to get to this point has lead to overwhelming joy among staff.
"The last couple of weeks, we were in the low teens. Last week, we got down in the single digits. It's given people a break, I'm sure they're not working as many double shifts and extra shifts and such."
Schlader is also upbeat about new out-patient therapy services that have come on-line that he believes help contributed to this milestone.
"We also have some new outpatient therapies that we're doing on patients. We do an IV therapy service. I think it's a combination of a lot of things we've tried, and thank goodness people are staying safe."
With the governor's loosening of restrictions that took effect on Sunday, Schlader is encouraging everyone to stay safe in public by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands.
Another positive sign: while MercyOne continues to follow COVID-19 guidelines on visitor restrictions, non-COVID patients are now allowed to have one support person visit the hospital (with an exception being end of life situations).