Local hospitals see surge in urgent care visits as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Coronavirus Impacting Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa — As positive COVID-19 cases rise in the state, so do visits at urgent care clinics in the metro.

Broadlawns Medical Center and UnityPoint Health report that over the last two weeks they’ve seen a significant increase in patients and not just those with COVID-19 symptoms.

“If people could get by with the symptoms they’re having for non-COVID related things, they were staying home,” Outpatient Clinic Administrator for Broadlawns Medical Center, Jeff Jarding said. “Now we’re seeing the mix. People are still coming in to be treated for regular ailments, along with COVID.” 

UnityPoint reports that its seen a 25% increase in daily patients over the last few weeks with an average of over 75 patients a day. 

Broadlawns has seen a 50% increase in urgent care patients and sees up to a hundred patients a day at its East University clinic. 

Jarding said local hospitals do expect these numbers to increase as positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise and with flu season just a few months away. 

However, Jarding said Broadlawns is still encouraging people to take advantage of urgent care, as it serves as the first line of defense for hospitals against COVID-19.

“If they’re appropriate for the urgent care, it’s better that we see them there because then that means that they don’t need to be admitted at that time,” Jarding said. “That’s where the real concern comes in,  running out of beds for patients, running out of supplies, equipment, ventilators.” 

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