GOSHEN — Hospitals were treating the largest number of COVID-19 patients since the state began releasing public reports on coronavirus hospitalizations last spring, and local officials said resources were critically low.
On the seventh straight day of record-setting coronavirus hospitalizations, Indiana hospitals were treating 2,174 patients with COVID-19, the Indiana State Department of Health said Monday in its daily statistics update.
Similar reports were made in Elkhart County, where the number of new COVID-19 cases topped 300 for the third consecutive day. The Indiana State Department of Health on Monday listed 325 new cases, all but two from Sunday. It also reported one new death.
Goshen Health said it was treating 44 patients on the COVID-19 unit, including 41 who have tested positive and three who were awaiting test results.
Elkhart General Hospital was treating a record-high 81 COVID patients, according to the Beacon Health website.
“Today is the most dangerous day of the epidemic so far for catching the coronavirus in Elkhart County,” said Dr. Dan Nafziger, Goshen Hospital chief medical officer and infectious disease specialist. “Over half the patients in our hospital are in isolation and the total number of patients in the hospital is at record levels.
Some patients who need important surgeries are having their procedures delayed because COVID-19 patients are filling intensive care unit beds, he said. The hospital has had to transfer some patients because it didn’t have enough beds.
“Please, please wear a mask when indoors even at home if people outside your household or ‘pandemic bubble’ are present,” he said. “Speak up if leaders of your church or social group want to meet indoors. There was promising news about a vaccine announced today, but it will still require all of us to work together until it is widely available. Stay home if you can, wear a mask if you can’t and do your best to protect your friends and family.”
The new hospitalization numbers marked an 84 percent jump in Indiana’s COVID-19 patients during the past month, the data show.
The Indiana State Department of Health reported another 4,213 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing Indiana’s seven-day rolling average for newly confirmed coronavirus cases to 4,212. That is up more than 214 percent from a month ago and has continued rising to new highs that the state has seen during the pandemic.
The health department also added 34 more coronavirus-related deaths to Indiana’s pandemic toll, raising it to 4,644, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box on Wednesday said hospitals and health care workers in Indiana are swamped, “needing support now more than ever.”
Staffing issues continue to be the greatest challenge, Box said. State officials are now renewing their call for retired health care workers to help relieve staff in Indiana’s hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Gov. Eric Holcomb, who won a second term as governor last week by defeating Democrat Woody Myers, said Wednesday he’s not making any changes to COVID-19 policy, including no statewide closure of schools.
The Republican governor has continued to resist calls for reinstating coronavirus restrictions since lifting nearly all limits in late September, just as the state started recording sharp increases in hospitalizations, deaths and new infections.