INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor is reimposing restrictions on hospitals from performing elective surgeries to free up hospital capacity with the state’s steep recent increases in serious COVID-19 illnesses.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that hospitals were being directed to postpone all non-urgent in-patient surgeries beginning Dec. 16 through Jan. 3.
Holcomb said Indiana is “on fire” with coronavirus spread as the number of Indiana counties with the highest risk level of coronavirus spread more than doubled in the state health department’s weekly update. The tracking map labels 36 of the state’s 92 counties the most dangerous red category, up from 16 a week ago. All other counties are in the next riskiest orange rating.
The state had halted elective medical procedures in April to help preserve hospital equipment and protective gear.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the surgery restrictions will allow hospitals to shift health care workers to help care for patients with COVID-19.
Holcomb, a Republican, said he was extending the statewide mask order and toughening restrictions on crowd sizes that he reinstated last month. The new rules will prevent local health departments from allowing exemptions for social gatherings of more than 25 people in counties with red ratings and more than 50 people in orange-rated counties.