Telehealth a key strategy in keeping Iowa's COVID hospitalizations lower

(Iowa City, IA) - Many people have been hospitalized in Iowa because of COVID-19, but there's also been success treating Iowans at home, so they can avoid going to the hospital. The UI Health Care's Home Treatment Team (HTT) is reporting it's been able to keep about 1,000 at-risk patients at home, while monitoring their symptoms.

Dr. Bradley Manning says oxygen levels are key. He says if a patient's oxygen levels start to decline they can be admitted to the hospital before they become short of breath.

Health care officials have been warning about a potential spike in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving. Dr. Manning says UI Health Care has multiple plans in place in the event of a rise in cases. He says he's hopeful people will heed recommendations to scale back holiday gatherings. Dr. Manning also says he's very optimistic that an effective vaccine will be available to the general public next year. He says in the meantime, though, people need to heed the recommendations such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. He also says those who have recovered from the virus need to continue to take precautions, as it appears the length of immunity varies patient to patient.

Dr. Manning says many things have been learned about the COVID-19 virus. He says right away they learned that most patients noticed the loss of taste and smell and dehydration.

Dr. Manning says health care providers also have a greater appreciation for tele-health, because of the virus. He says that's a tool that will likely prove useful long after the pandemic.

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