Wayne County hospital reaches ‘critical’ bed status

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WAYNE COUNTY, Ind. – Hospitalizations are thirty percent higher at Reid Health in Wayne County than in early May and it’s keeping the hospital at “critical” bed status. That means the hospital has fewer than five general medical beds available. Health officials fear the hospital will have to cut back on services if the trend continues.

Dr. Tom Huth, Vice President for Medical Affairs at Reid Health, says the hospital has taken some additional steps to deal with its continuing shortage of available beds, including moving some non-COVID patients to temporary areas. They are adding beds in a large auditorium and conference rooms.

“We will be creating in the neighborhood of 30 extra beds by doing that, but we can’t do that indefinitely,” he said.

If the number of admissions continues to increase, the health system may be faced with ceasing elective surgeries or even having to divert patients to other facilities.

Right now, Reid Health is seeing about 75 patients a day and roughly 50 of those are positive for COVID-19.

“Trying to fit all of that in when at any given moment you only have 5 empty beds that creates a lot of stress in trying to get people out of the hospital quicker,” said Dr. Huth.

Reid Health serves multiple counties east of Indianapolis, including Union County. That county was colored in “red” on the state’s COVID-19 map as they fight a positivity rate of 18 percent.

The health department recorded zero cases a day for most of the pandemic and now the 7-day average for positive cases is six. These small numbers still make officials worried.

“With that decrease with that workforce, unfortunately, that may pose an issue of having to close down local businesses,” said Kim Klein, a public health nurse for the Union County Health Department.

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