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Blizzard Keeps Two Thirds of Workers Home at Algona Hospital

ALGONA, Iowa  —  On Friday, the Kossuth Regional Health Center was operating with approximately one-third of what would be considered a normal crew.

The hospital employs 260 people, and is still open in bad weather.

“A good portion of our staff live outside Algona, which means it’s a rural drive for them,” said administrator Scott Curtis. “We have a number of people who stayed with friends, spent the night here in anticipation of wanting to be here for their shift in the morning.”

“A hospital is 24/7, we don’t have an option of closing,” said Curtis. “The determination is what services are we able to slow down or push off for another day that are scheduled appointments.”

Curtis adds emergency room, patient floor, laboratory, radiology, and clinic basic functions have to be there.

For some travelers, trying to leave Algona on Thursday was not an option.

“When it got dark we started noticing people pulling in off the road saying that it wasn’t nice, that they weren’t going to continue down on the road,” said Valerie Lauck, manager of the AmericInn. “They were having to travel pretty slow and decided to turn back around and come into town, because it was just not nice out there.”

“It’s been quite the experience to have 70 degree weather Wednesday and turn around and be in a blizzard on Friday,” added Lauck. Everything’s shut down, no school, or traffic, it’s just kind of hard to get around.”