ELKHART — Hospital officials said the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at Beacon Health has dropped significantly from recent weeks but urged the public to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and others from the contagious respiratory disease.
The promising report came from Dr. Michelle Bache, vice president of Medical Affairs at Elkhart General Hospital, on Friday in an interview provided by Beacon Health. Bache said the number of hospitalized patients has declined by 60 percent compared to November.
“Our deaths are going down and this is really great for the community as a whole, not just the hospital,” she said. “This has allowed us to ramp back up our surgical services. We’re able to provide additional health care services to the population besides just COVID, so it’s been just great.”
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has decreased at Elkhart General Hospital, which had 37 COVID-19 patients Wednesday, down from a high of about 90 in November.
The hospital still has COVID patients, but an anticipated surge in admissions after the holidays never came, Bache said. She attributes the encouraging news to people being more vigilant and following safety protocols to help alleviate the spread and expressed her gratitude for their efforts.
“I think the community really took the message that we were trying to deliver to heart and really listened to what we said and thankfully were limiting gatherings,” she said. “I know personally, people were not traveling or getting together with big groups as they historically had and mask usage has really gone up. I noticed just anecdotally walking through my community many more people are wearing masks and they’re working.”
“(Residents) have made the difference for us, you have done this, and I can’t thank you enough,” she said.
Despite the improvement, Bache said, “We’re not out of the woods yet,” and urged residents to remain vigilant.
“COVID-19 is going to be with us I think for the foreseeable future,” she said. “We still need to mask, social distance and keep doing what you’re doing. We don’t want to get back to where we were in November. We want to be able to have smaller gatherings and do these things safely. It’s probably going to be the end of the summer or late into 2021 before we can hope that our vaccination will get to enough people to where we can relax a bit.”