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Blessing doctors warn community to be vigilant as COVID-19 hospitalizations increase

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- From four to 16 in under two weeks. That's how many more COVID-19 patients are being treated at Blessing Hospital Thursday.

They said fortunately right now none of those patients are in the ICU, they said while things are under control, it's the community's job to make sure things stay that way.

"I probably see 2 people out of 20 that might not have a mask, like today I was just in at Hy-Vee, I saw all the employees wearing a mask, all the customers, wearing a mask," said Greg Shierling.

He said he's been wearing his mask and follows the guidelines when he goes out for things like groceries because he's hoping this can all be over as soon as possible.

Blessing Health System Chief of Medicine Dr. Chris Solaro said increases in both confirmed cases and cases that require hospitalization has doctors worried.

"We'll take care of it," said Dr. Dolaro, "but what we hope is that the community can do everything they can to prevent this illness from developing, so as we know, we've heard it all before, this is wearing masks, and social distancing and avoiding large crowds to prevent transmission."

He said as weather gets colder, following those rules will become even more important.

"Now we're going to be dealing with both COVID and influenza as we move into the winter months, it's a little harder to socially distance if you're congregating indoors, and so I think really it's keeping an eye on prevention is going to be key, and we all know how to do it, we just need to do it," said Dr. Solaro.

Shierling said when he hears cases are increasing like that, it only means one thing to him.

"We haven't been following what's recommended to us, we need to get back to what the authorities are recommending," said Shierling.

Officials at Blessing said they have adequate staff, PPE and ventilators to care for a large surge of patients should that occur, but did not specify at what point that wouldn't be the case.

They said the hospital has 70 ventilators, none of which are in use by covid-19 patients at the moment, and if beds do start to fill up, they will be able to adapt different parts of the hospitals into more room for patients.

Blessing officials said if they do run out of space, they will be able to partner with regional facilities to house patients.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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