Throughout the last few weeks, Mercy Cedar Rapids and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital have seen a marked increase in patients with COVID-19 who require inpatient care. This has placed increasing strain on both hospitals’ capacity and staffing. As a result, and in order to maintain capacity to care for all, St. Luke’s and Mercy have made the joint decision to temporarily postpone elective, non-urgent surgeries.
For the past two years, since COVID has been active in our community, the hospitals have closely monitored the number of people requiring hospitalization and have made periodic adjustments to elective procedures, as needed, to ensure the ability to provide care for all COVID and non-COVID patients. As we have done in the past, when a non-urgent procedure is postponed, it is rescheduled as soon as possible.
Effective immediately, the hospitals are postponing elective surgery cases through Christmas. The hospitals will continue to closely monitor rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and evaluate daily the ability to resume elective procedures as COVID volume diminishes within the community.
We are on our fourth wave of COVID-19. Our healthcare teams have been on the frontlines fighting this virus for nearly two years. They are physically and mentally exhausted. As the pandemic lingers, we must emphasize that the path to get past this is through vaccination. Today, we are asking our community to get vaccinated for COVID-19 if you haven’t already. If you have, and it’s been more than six months since you received a Moderna or Pfizer shot or more than two months if you had the Johnson & Johnson shot, schedule a time today to receive a booster vaccination. The virus continues to develop new variants that allow it to transmit easily to the unvaccinated. Because no vaccine is 100% protective, breakthrough cases are also possible when a virus spreads so rapidly among large populations.
During this time of increased transmission, in addition to vaccination, it’s important to wear a mask in public, avoid large gatherings and practice good hygiene. If you are sick, get tested for COVID-19 to avoid spreading it to others.
We are at another critical point and we need everyone’s help. We are continuing to care for our communities, but when we delay surgeries, we are not caring for our communities as we would want. Help us help our community. Get vaccinated. Receive the booster. Wear a mask.