U-I Hospitals CEO: Iowa dodged post Thanksgiving COVID spike

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COVID hospitalization rates have declined in recent days, but the CEO of the state’s largest hospital says you shouldn’t ease up on prevention measures.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics CEO Suresh Gunasekaran says Iowa avoided the feared post-holiday increase.

“I think it would be safe to say that we have dodged a big spike — the runaway event that we thought for Thanksgiving doesn’t seem to be happening in Johnson County or statewide,” he says. He says the numbers need to continue going down. “We’re on a plateau, not on a sufficient decline. So, we continue to be concerned,” Gunasekaran says.

Gunasakran says there wasn’t a spike — but the numbers are not where they were when cases dipped in the summer. “We’ve had a lot of discussions in the fall how high Iowa has been — but frankly, in the summer we weren’t in the top ten or top 20 or those kinds of things while many other states around the country were,” he says. “I still think we have a little bit more to go — but I do feel a little bit more positive than I did a month ago.”

He says there’s going to be an opportunity for a potential spike if people don’t stick to the guidelines during the Christmas holiday. The number of COVID patients in Iowa hospitals dropped to below 900 Wednesday after hitting record highs of more than 1,500 in mid-November.

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