INDIANAPOLIS (WFFT) -- Indiana's Health Commissioner is asking any Hoosier or business with the ability to produce personal protective equipment to donate it to a local hospital, EMS or long-term care facility as they prepare for a surge of Covid-19 cases.
Dr. Kristina Box said Monday the state has already given hospitals more than 80 percent of its personal protective equipment, and it's possible no more is coming.
"We have very limited supplies remaining for emergencies," Box said during a news conference, noting they're making EMTs, hospitals and long-term facilities a priority. "If your business has the ability to make these products then fire up your lines because we're ready for it."
Box said the state recently received its last shipment from the Strategic National Stockpile, which she says would cover about 13 days. She's not sure if more supplies are coming but they're looking to get or buy what they can.
"Until we have those supplies in my hand I cannot promise we can replenish anyone's PPE," she said. "As a healthcare provider that is incredibly hard for me to say. And I know as a healthcare provider and a first responder that's even harder to hear. But that's the reality every state is facing at this time."
COVID-19 RACIAL BREAKDOWN
Recent reports show African Americans comprise more than 70 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in Chicago.
Indiana has been providing a daily breakdown of COVID-19 patients, including age and gender, but nothing about race. FOX 55 News asked Box if Indiana was preparing a racial breakdown. She said the state's been working "very hard on that."
"The thing is when you get the testing, we get a patient name, a date of birth and we get an address. We don't get any other demographic information in regards to race or ethnicity."
Many FOX 55 viewers have reported getting sick as early as the New Year with symptoms similar to COVID-19. That has many speculating that maybe they had it then but it went undected because testing wasn't available yet. We asked Box if that was possible:
"Interestingly enough, as we look at our tests we can start to see an increase in individuals who had pneumonia and potentially died of pneumonia and influenza-like illnesses in our state as early as, we think, as February. Because we didn’t have any testing there was no way to know what was going on there. And the other factor that was very difficult with that was we had 3 waves of influenza this year, so we had a particularly long year with influenza."
Box said the state's testing has expanded in the last month thanks in part to adding private labs. They tested more than 3,500 people for the first time on Sunday and hope to process more than 3,600 tests a day.
Now that testing is more available, they're encouraging hospitals to broaden their testing to not just the sickest, but also healthcare workers, first responders and people who are diabetic or morbidly obese.
ICU BEDS AND VENTILATORS
Box said as of right now more than 1,000 people across the state are hospitalized with COVID-19-like illnesses.
The state has a total of 2,964 ICU beds, of which 1,721 are occupied. Box said COVID-19 patients make up 31 percent of occupied ICU beds. About 42 percent of ICU beds remain unoccupied.
Box said the state has 2,642 ventilators, of which 62 percent remain available.
She said they're trying to cross match the data they have but at this point there's still about a 30 percent gap in their data.
We also commonly receive questions from viewers about the state's "recovery rate." We asked Box and others that question. You can read that story here.