DES MOINES, Iowa– Between staffing shortages and the demand for beds, Polk County hospitals are operating at limited capacity.

In non-emergency situations, urgent care can be helpful during nights and weekends, but local medical professionals say that the increase in hospital visitors is partly due to the lack of preventative care during the pandemic. Not having a primary care doctor results in more unnecessary visits, and now more than ever it is important to consult with or find a primary provider.

“It’s very important to have a primary care practitioner or primary care doctor or nurse practitioner or PA, because that is the central place for you to go to get accurate medical information, effectively and efficiently. When you have one provider that knows you very well, knows your health history, your social history, all of the things that determine your health, then you get the best care that you possibly can,” said Dr. Sarah Ling with MercyOne. 

Polk County Health recommends that if you are behind on routine vaccinations or COVID boosters, now is a good time to catch up.