Health officials say COVID-19 isn’t to blame for full emergency rooms

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INDIANAPOLIS — Emergency rooms are filling up at local hospitals but health officials say it’s not because of COVID-19.

“We’re definitely seeing a sharp increase in volume, especially compared to 2020,” said Michael Kuhn, Director of Nursing at Community Hospital East.

Health systems across central Indiana are experiencing a high number of emergency room visits but Kuhn says COVID-19 is not to blame.

“We’ve seen a sharp decline in the number of COVID patients we’ve admitted to our hospital,” Kuhn said. “The COVID units aren’t full with patients, it’s a variety of other diagnosis.”

Kuhn says many patients put off procedures and doctor visits in 2020, which could be a reason for the rise in emergency room visits. 

“Some of it can be people getting back out, living and doing their life,” Kuhn said.

Health officials at Eskenazi Health say they’re seeing something similar.

“Our emergency room is seeing on average 300 patients a day,” said Lee Ann Blue, chief nursing officer for Eskenazi.

Blue says while the number of emergency room visits is higher than it was a year ago, the number of COVID-19 admissions has significantly decreased.

“A year ago, we were running around 40-50 positive COVID patients and now we’re seeing the 20-30 so it’s about half,” Blue said.

Health officials say they still have the resources to meet patient needs regardless of how busy they get.

“We are doing our very best to be here for our patients and providing all our safety procedures and precautions so people can feel safe coming to the emergency room, coming to the hospital,” Blue said.

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