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Health experts see a rise in other illnesses besides COVID-19, hospitalizations increasing

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Health officials are seeing a spike in other illnesses besides COVID-19 as we get closer to the end of the pandemic. Positive cases of COVID-19 are also on a slight uptick.

Despite it being summertime, hospitals are seeing more patients than they would normally see in winter, which doctors say is very unusual.

"This has been an unusual summer where the hospital is bursting. We have so many patients in the hospital right now and we are having people pick up extra shifts. Nurses are working extra, physicians are working extra," UnityPoint Health Medical Director Dr. Pradeep Ramesh said.

Some of the illnesses being reported include common ones from before the pandemic, such as the common cold, while others are a bit more serious. Doctors are starting to see increased numbers of heart problems, respiratory issues, and even liver problems.

"I suspect that some people were not following up with their physicians and are not taking care of themselves as well as they did before the pandemic, and that could be one of the reasons why we are seeing more and more patients come to the hospital now," Dr. Ramesh said.

COVID-19 cases are also on the rise among those who are not vaccinated.

Black Hawk County Health says part of it is due to the Delta Variant making its way into the county and surrounding areas.

"When the state lets us know we have a Delta Variant case we do some additional follow up to see where that person may have come into contact with who had COVID-19 to see if there's a travel risk or connections to other cases, but we've seen a handful of Delta Variant cases here in Black Hawk County," Black Hawk County Health Surveillance and Investigation Manager Joshua Pikora said.

Pikora says anytime is a good time to get vaccinated even if you've had COVID-19.

"We really encourage everyone to get vaccinated even if you've had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, where you have some of that short-term immunity that you can lean on. We do still encourage people to get vaccinated because we know the vaccine has longer-lasting immunity than the natural infection does," he said.

Pikora and Dr. Ramesh say nearly every person who tests positive for COVID-19 has not been vaccinated or is in between doses of their two-dose vaccine.

Taking a common-sense approach and continuing those safety measures we were taking during the pandemic will help keep you healthy from other illnesses including COVID-19.

Dr. Ramesh said cases of mental health illnesses and substance abuse cases have also increased.

More information on where to get a vaccine in your area can be found here: COVID-19 Vaccine (

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Diego Hernandez

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