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Fort Wayne health officials growing more concerned about the record increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Health officials in Northeast Indiana say they are growing more concerned that if the novel coronavirus continues to spread like it is now, the healthcare system could be compromised.

Posted: Nov 9, 2020 8:47 PM
Updated: Nov 10, 2020 9:45 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - As of Monday, Nov. 9, there 262 people in Northeast Indiana who are hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Health officials say they are growing more concerned that if the novel coronavirus continues to spread like it is now, the healthcare system could be compromised.

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SPECIAL SECTION: FOX 55 Coronavirus Pandemic Coverage

Allen County Health Commissioner Matthew Sutter, M.D., says "The hospitals are starting to feel the strain."

Right now, hospitals are not doing anything different, and there's no change to the current visitor plans. Sutter explained, "They're not having to change their normal operations, they’ve not exceeded their surge capacity, but if these trends continue, they certainly could."

Vashal Bhatia, M.D., Regional Chief Medical Officer with the Lutheran Health Network says on Friday, the network reached the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations than at any other time during the pandemic at 110. They have since dropped to 100. However, he explained they’re currently on plan A, saying the hospital group is continuing to care for both COVID and non-covid patients.

If they start to reach capacity though, Bhatia explained part of their plan, saying "We will convert other rooms so we can convert them into COVID care zones and again. Then there’s a plan C and then there’s a plan D, and then at that stage, you get to a non-conventional mode of care for patients and we talk about surge capacity and disaster management."

The plan is similar at Parkview. A Parkview spokesperson tells FOX 55 they have the ability to move COVID patients to area facilities to remain below capacity, but they’re getting more concerned as they’re now caring for 50-70% more COVID-positive patients than at the peak in the summer.

However, Sutter says that the measure of surge capacity being the availability of ventilators no longer makes sense.

"Our surge capacity is really going to be about people to take care of the sick people," Sutter said. "As we start to see more spread in the community, we have more people who can’t go to work as nurses and respiratory therapists and doctors to take care of these sick people."

Parkview officials echoed that same sentiment, saying "When it comes to capacity, our most precious resource is staff. We’re seeing more co-workers being unable to work due to COVID exposure. The vast majority of those cases are coming from community exposure, meaning they’re being exposed outside of the workplace."

Sutter says the concern is mounting, saying "It would not surprise me if, by Christmas, we are seeing significant problems with the hospitals if the present trends continue, but again we have the ability to change that, but we have to change our personal behaviors."

Lutheran, Parkview, and the Allen County Health Department are continuing to stress the importance of mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing.

But Sutter says with family holidays such as Thanksgiving coming up, which is when they tend to see COVID spread the fastest, he’s “gravely concerned” about a sharp increase in cases after the holiday since he says there’s no way for families to be socially distant and enjoy dinner because the indoor space isn’t big enough.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
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