December 14, 2020

Central Indiana Hospitals Warn Of COVID Crisis

Members of the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety joined a call Monday to urge residents to help slow the spread of COVID-19. - Screenshot by Jill Sheridan/WFYI

Members of the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety joined a call Monday to urge residents to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Screenshot by Jill Sheridan/WFYI

Central Indiana hospitals are pleading with people to help curb the spread of COVID-19. 

The colder weather and holidays have caused a sharp spike in coronavirus cases in Indiana.  IU Health VP of Quality, Safety and Performance Improvement Michelle Saysana said Indiana is a hotspot.  

“With one of the highest rates of new cases per hundred thousand people in the entire nation,” Sayasna said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID Data Tracker on Monday, Indiana currently ranks fourth in the nation with 93.5 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. Only Rhode Island, Tennessee and Ohio have had more cases per 100,000 residents over the past week.

IU Health systems have nearly 500 people hospitalized with COVID-19.  A majority of them are in Indianapolis.

Eskenazi Health Chief Nursing Officer Lee Ann Blue said the crush of cases is taking its toll on health care workers.

“This work is physically and emotionally exhausting and you can see it in their eyes,” Blue said.

The Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety, with members from central Indiana hospital systems, called on residents to adhere to safety measures including masks and limiting social gatherings.

Hospitals leaders said they are also struggling with staff members who are out because of COVID-19.  Although they emphasized that the spread was not typically happening at hospitals.

Community Health Chief Nursing Officer Jean Putnam said more patients are becoming sicker. 

“To watch the pain on families faces without being able to spend significant time with them in hospitals has truly been devastating for our nurses and providers,” Putnam said.

As of Dec. 13, 40 percent of the state's intensive care unit beds were filed by COVID-19 patients, according to the Indiana State Department of Health's COVID-19 dashboard. In early April, COVID-19 patients accounted for 29 percent of ICU beds.

Hospital networks are optimistic about the vaccination, which arrived in Indiana on Monday, but all emphasize it will be months until there is widespread protection.

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