Highest increase in Indiana coronavirus hospitalizations since May causes concern


INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana will remain in Phase 5 even as more people test positive for COVID-19 and more are admitted to the hospital.

Experts say the increase in hospitalizations is concerning.

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 1,357 hospitalizations as of Tuesday. That’s the highest number the state has seen since May, and it’s still unclear what the root of the problem is.

“Concerning, something we’re keeping a close eye on. And we’re making sure that we’re constantly prepared to the maximum every day to react to whatever comes our way,” said Dr. Chris Weaver, senior VP of clinical effectiveness at IU Health.

In the past week, cases have sky-rocketed to record breaking numbers. And now patients are being hospitalized at an alarming rate.

“We weren’t nearly as high as we were back in March and April, but we have been up significantly in the last few days,” said Dr. Weaver.

The state’s color-coded maps show some counties in orange and red. Those are in somewhat rural areas. That’s where they are seeing an increase in hospital patients and those on ventilators.

“Those counties that you referenced don’t have hospitals at all. So Pike is a county that doesn’t have a hospital. They rely on the surrounding counties to provide those hospital services to the residents of those counties,” said Indian Rural Health Association CEO Cara Veale.

Those who are hospitalized continues to change.

“This group that’s being hospitalized, at least what we’re seeing across the state, is a little older than that. Not to the elderly extreme of what we saw early on in COVID, but a little bit older than the college age 20-40, 40-60 rage. And kind of wide spectrum being those ranges,” said Dr. Weaver.

Some hospitals are becoming worried that elective procedures could be canceled if cases continue to trend upward. However, hospitals say they are prepared for what’s to come down the pipeline.

“The good things are from the previous period we have plans in place within each of our facilities and across our healthcare system,” said Dr. Weaver.

The Health Department says some counties in northern Indiana, southwest Indiana and north of central Indiana, in the Muncie and Anderson area, are concerning. That’s where they are seeing critical ICU bed shortages and personnel shortages. 

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