BRITT, Iowa - Hospitals are handling a huge influx of patients infected with COVID-19. It's not just the larger medical centers feeling the burden, smaller rural hospitals are struggling to treat everyone who comes through the door.
While it may look quiet on the patient floor at Hancock County Health System, looks can be decieving. The hospital is experiencing a surge.
"We need to make sure that we have rooms and care and staff available to take care of our patients whenever they come in with whatever diagnosis," said Laura Zwiefel, CEO of Hancock County Health System.
Nurse Manager Jennifer Weiland says the hospital is trying to keep as many patients local as possible.
"We've really been working hard to transition any patients that we can care for here to help Mercy out to open more beds for their covid patients, so we have seen a huge increase in our census," said Weiland.
The surge in patients requires an 'all hands on deck' mentality from everyone.
"Our leaders, including myself, have been pitching in and helping whenever we can. So, I think that helps to allow our staff to feel like they're being supported and that we're all in this together," she said.
Dr. Mark Hong has treated a lot of COVID-19 patients and says things can go south quickly with this treacherous virus.
"They can go from completely asymptomatic versus somebody who requires a large amount of oxygen and in an ICU," said Dr. Hong.
He allows that treating patients with COVID has improved, because of theraputics including convalescent plasma, which wasn't an option earlier this year.
"We went from knowing absolutely nothing to now we have a lot of potential options," he said.
Dr. Hong also mentioned that some patients have different responses to the theraputics, with some seeing good results while others not seeing much change.