DES MOINES, Iowa — The Polk County Health Department released today that hospitals in Polk County are still operating at limited capacity.

Emergency departments are seeing longer wait times for individuals to receive care and be placed in an appropriate inpatient bed if needed.

The health department says that each hospital is experiencing high demand for hospital beds, increases of summer illnesses and injuries, and an increase in individuals who are very sick and require longer hospitalizations, as well as staffing shortages.

To help lessen the burden on hospitals, the health department is asking individuals to utilize their primary care doctor or urgent care clinics if they are not in a life or limb threatening situation. The health department is also encouraging individuals to follow safe health practices like receiving vaccines.

If you are in a life or limb threatening situation, do not hesitate to go to the emergency room or call 911.