Ottumwa Regional Health Center ’s top priority continues to be protecting the health and safety of our patients, providers, employees and the communities we serve. Like our fellow healthcare providers, we continue to be challenged by the concerning trend of COVID-19 in our local community and across the nation.

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise rapidly across the country, and the same is true here at home in Ottumwa. In fact, COVID-19-related hospitalizations have reached an all-time high in our community since this public health crisis began.


Importantly, this crisis is not isolated to urban areas and larger cities – COVID-19 is a very real problem in the smaller communities we serve, as well. Small towns and rural areas across the country and across Iowa have seen a rapid acceleration of COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks, and our hospital has felt the impact. Unfortunately, the continued surge and prevalence of COVID-19 has the potential to overwhelm the local healthcare delivery system, which is why we all must do our part to protect ourselves, our healthcare workers and our communities.

With up to 40 percent of those infected showing few to no symptoms, the virus can spread quickly. Combined with cooler temperatures and our annual flu season, we are facing what could be a particularly challenging fall and winter. We strongly urge our community members to be even more diligent in their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the months ahead.

More than eight months into the pandemic, we simply cannot let our guard down – and you can rest assured that the ORHC team won’t. But it is going to take all of us being extra cautious and taking every possible preventive measure to change the course of the pandemic and avoid a greater healthcare and economic crisis.

We call upon every community member in Southern Iowa to lead by example — wear a mask over your nose and mouth, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing and avoid group gatherings.

Together, we can make a difference and make our communities healthier.