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Indiana health leaders warn COVID-19 risking hospital care

The public must take precautions such as wearing masks and avoiding gatherings with those outside their households more seriously to slow the COVID-19 spread, those leaders said during a briefing with Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020 10:45 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State health and hospital leaders warned Wednesday that Indiana could be facing months more of the surging coronavirus infections that have already started to overwhelm hospitals.

The public must take precautions such as wearing masks and avoiding gatherings with those outside their households more seriously to slow the COVID-19 spread, those leaders said during a briefing with Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Hospital executives said outpatient surgeries and screenings were being postponed so staffers could be reassigned to help handle the steep increase in coronavirus patients.

“We know we are up for a challenge here in the next few weeks to few months,” said Dr. Mark Luetkemeyer, the chief medical officer for IU Health’s Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. “We’re readying ourselves to be as prepared as possible but ... we can’t keep this up for a long time.”

Nearly a quarter of Indiana’s counties are listed in the highest-risk category and Wednesday’s state health department update showed a 60% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past two weeks.

Health officials also reported updated death totals from the past few days, raising Sunday’s COVID-19 death toll to at least 52, pushing it past the previous daily high of 50 set during the initial surge in April.

Indiana has recorded 322 virus-related deaths in the past week alone.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box warned that the state is “going to continue to see our cases and our deaths skyrocket” if residents don’t take the right measures.

“We are on an exponential growth curve right now and we do not expect it to turn around quickly,” Box said. “In the next several weeks, we will continue to see cases climb, individuals hospitalized and, unfortunately, more deaths.”

Conditions inside hospitals nationwide are deteriorating with the coronavirus surge, leading some governors and mayors to issue tougher measures such as limits on gatherings and restricting the hours and capacity of some businesses.

Indiana’s rates of new COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths began a steep increase just after Holcomb lifted most restrictions on businesses and crowds in late September.

In that time, Indiana’s coronavirus hospitalizations have jumped 300% to a pandemic high of 3,040 patients as of Tuesday, and its seven-day rolling average COVID-19 deaths has jumped from 10 a day to 41, just short of the state’s peak in late April.

Holcomb has kept a statewide mask order in place since July, but not until last week did he reinstate crowd limits based on county risk levels while largely leaving enforcement to local officials.

Holcomb, who went into quarantine Tuesday and was awaiting testing after coronavirus exposure from infected security staff, said by phone that the virus spread was an outcome of some people “pretending” that wearing masks and social distancing don’t work.

“We know going into the next 30, 60 days that we need to do more of this, not less,” Holcomb said.

Memorial Hospital in South Bend has added 10 intensive care beds beyond its normal capacity because of additional COVID-19 patients, said Sarah Paturalski, the hospital’s vice president of nursing services.

That hospital and others are worried about not having enough health care workers to care for the quickly growing number of severely ill patients.

“Not only are we in a surge plan, we are already rationing care,” Paturalski said.

The state health department listed 21 of Indiana’s 92 counties in the highest of its four risk levels for coronavirus spread, up from nine last week.

They include northwestern Lake County, Indiana’s second-most populous, and Fort Wayne’s Allen County.

Officials listed 70 counties in the next-highest risk level and none received the lowest rating.

In early October, the state’s risk map only placed nine counties in the two greatest risk categories.

Those ratings are based on the number of new cases per 100,000 residents and the percentage of tests confirming COVID-19 infections.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
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