In an effort to reduce COVID-19 pressures on medical center resources, Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health – Trinity will temporarily reduce elective surgeries and procedures starting Monday, Nov. 16.

This decision is made in collaboration with Iowa’s Region 5 hospitals and physician leadership of the Quad-Cities health systems. The reduction of elective surgeries will continue through Nov. 20, when the change will be reassessed.

Reducing elective surgical procedures requiring inpatient stays will allow the health systems to expand bed capacity and reallocate patient care staff to care for the rapidly rising number of patients with COVID-19 illness. Both health systems will continue to perform critical, emergent surgical procedures during this period.

Quad-Cities health systems have both experienced high rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past two weeks. The numbers of hospitalized patients are the highest since the start of the outbreak locally in March.

In a manner consistent with other medical centers, and according to national guidelines, elective inpatient surgeries or procedures will be delayed unless there is:

  • Threat to the patient’s life if surgery or procedure is not performed
  • Threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity or organ system
  • Risk of cancer metastasis or progression of staging
  • Risk of rapidly worsening or severe symptoms

“We appreciate and value medical staff leadership to help guide our organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ said Kurt Andersen, M.D., Genesis Senior Vice President of Physician Operations and Chief Medical Officer. “We are making this decision in the best interest of patients, our staff and the community in order to concentrate our resources for this challenging time.”

“This is not an easy choice but it’s necessary to be able to provide the best care possible to the rising number of people experiencing severe cases of COVID-19 as well as those needing other emergent care in our communities. Our care teams are going above and beyond every day, and we are asking the community to help us all by following CDC safety guidelines to help slow the spread of the virus. This community’s health remains our top priority,” said Toyosi Olutade, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, UnityPoint Health – Trinity.

While each health system’s supply of personal protective equipment remains strong, the temporary reduction in non-essential surgeries will help conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to care for COVID-19 patients.

Quad-Cities health systems ask for the public’s assistance at this time. If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 experience mild illness and can recover at home without medical care.
  • Do not leave your home except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated.
  • Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in touch with your primary care provider.
  • Call before you get medical care.

Genesis and UnityPoint Health – Trinity leadership and staffs have been communicating and collaborating frequently throughout the virus outbreak and will be reassessing the temporary surgery reductions.


Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.