1 year since first COVID-19 vaccine, Indiana cases and hospitalizations in fourth surge

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS — Tuesday marks one year since the first COVID-19 vaccine was given out in the United States of America.

At the time, many looked at it as the eventual end to the pandemic, but a year later and Indiana is seeing case numbers and hospitalizations the highest since that time last year.

”Inside of the building we are prepared for what could be our worst COVID surge to date,” said Kristen Kelley, the IU Health Nursing Director of Infection Prevention.

Kelley, like so many others, saw the first vaccine rolling out a year ago as the turning point in the pandemic.

”A year later we are sitting here getting ready to head into our fourth surge in the hospital,” she said.

For the first time since December of 2020, more than 3,000 Hoosiers are in the hospital with COVID-19.

Kelley said this next month could be extremely concerning.

”It may be some of the highest rates of spread that we have seen in the two years of this pandemic,” Kelley said.

Tuesday we asked Gov. Eric Holcomb about his concern with the current surge, he said his goal is to try and encourage people getting vaccinated is the right choice.

”We see who ends up in the hospital, we see who ends up in the ICU and we see, even worse than that, folks who prematurely pass,” said Holcomb.

Shaun Grannis, the VP of Data and Analytics at Regenstrief Institute said about 80% of new cases are people who are not vaccinated.

”We’re still seeing good news about the vaccine and that booster shot gives us about 5 times the protection,” he said.

This surge also comes with more and more being found out about the newest COVID-19 variant – Omicron.

Grannis said so far they have no strong evidence suggesting Omicron produces more severe illness.

”Not saying it produces less, but we’re not seeing clear evidence that it is more severe,” Grannis said.

Kelley said they’re preparing inside the hospital and hoping those outside are as well.

”I think its vey important not to scare people, but to warn them, so they can take appropriate actions and stay safe,” she said.

Holcomb said his office will continue to offer national guardsman to help hospitals who call on them.

“If this recedes, if this starts to scale back, we’ll start to scale back but not until then,” he said.

Grannis said the future of COVID depends on both the virus and humans.

”We could see the genetic makeup get to a place where it is very mild disease, we could see the vaccine continue to be more and more prevalent so people are much more protected,” Grannis said.

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