UnityPoint using ‘high volume’ of inpatient beds


UnityPoint Health is among the hospitals across the state feeling the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Hospital Administrator Shari King said they are seeing more COVID activity than this time last year, but clarifies they were not experiencing a spike in cases in September 2020.

“UnityPoint Health Marshalltown is experiencing high inpatient volumes but remains committed and ready to meet the needs of our community,” she said. “We are in constant communication with regional facilities regarding bed and staff availability and other needs.”

There are 578 COVID-19 patients hospitalized throughout the state with 157 in intensive care and 95 admitted in the last 24 hours, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. All three figures are significantly higher than a week ago, including 20 more ICU cases.

King said her hospital uses its analytic dashboard to monitor COVID’s spread, patient numbers and PPE supply.

“Staff and resources can then be deployed to areas with the greatest need,” she said.

People not fully vaccinated account for more than 78 percent of all COVID hospitalizations and 87 percent of ICU cases. Seventy-three percent of the hospitalized patients have COVID as their primary diagnosis.

The county has reported one new death related to COVID-19 in the last week, bringing the total to 80. It’s the first COVID-related death since the spring. A total of 6,401 people have died in Iowa, including 64 in the last week.

More than 9 percent of tests taken in Iowa the last seven days have come back positive. In Marshall County, the rate of positivity has remained at 5 percent.

Children 17 or younger make up 29 percent of the positive cases reported in the last week, the most of any age group. People 80 years old or older represent 3 percent of positives. There are 23 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

More than 3.3 million COVID vaccine doses have been administered in Iowa. More than 64 percent of adults are fully vaccinated and 67 percent of people 12 or older have received at least one shot.

Marshall County has surpassed the 68 percent vaccination rate.

“Most importantly, we urge all individuals 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” King said. “Please also continue to social distance, wash hands regularly, wear a mask in public places and stay home if you are ill – all of which can decrease the spread of COVID-19.”

According to Test Iowa, the nearest test kit pick up locations are in Toledo, Grinnell and Newton. Newton also offers test kit drop off at the Jasper County Health Department Health and Wellness building.

UnityPoint recommends people who are not sick but need a COVID test for another reason to consider other testing options than their health care provider, such as pharmacies. This is due to the high volumes of sick patients health care systems are seeing.


• Seven day percent of positive test rate: 5 percent

• Seven day number of cases: 148

• CDC transmission level:HIGH

• Fully vaccinated: 68 percent

• New deaths this week:1

• Total deaths:80


Contact Joe Fisher at



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