INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana hospitals have increased the state’s intensive care unit capacity by about one-third in the past few weeks in preparation for an expected surge in coronavirus-related illnesses, state officials said Monday.
Having such ICU capacity available has been a prime concern as health officials reported Monday that the state had 1,786 confirmed COVID-19 cases in a seven-fold increase from a week earlier.
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5 EASY STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHER INDIANA RESIDENTS DURING THE #COVID19 EMERGENCY— Indiana State Department of Health (@StateHealthIN) March 15, 2020
1. Clean and Disinfect
2. Cover Coughs and Sneezes
3. Wash Your Hands Often
4. Avoid Touching Your Face
5. Stay Home if You are Sick and Avoid Close Contact
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Indiana’s 35 virus deaths are five times greater in that time.
Indiana hospitals have added about 500 critical care beds to give the state 1,940 as of Monday, said Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, secretary of the state’s Family and Social Services Administration.
While officials said about 60% of those ICU beds were in use, Sullivan said hospitals continued working to create more ICU capacity by steps such as converting operating and recovery rooms space.
The state’s goal is to double the pre-virus intensive care capacity and Indiana’s count of 1,177 ventilators to meet Indiana’s anticipated COVID-19 case surge in the coming weeks, she said.
Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said Indiana’s illness peak is still expected in mid- to late April, but some prediction models show that lasting long.
“It could be as late as mid-May. We don’t know,” Box said. “That surge could be more of a flattened-type surge and that would be over a longer period of time.”