COVID-19 patients strain Indiana hospitals as virus surges

Indiana’s rapid surge in coronavirus infections, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, is again straining hospitals as patient admissions spike to levels not recorded since last winter’s surge.

Posted: Sep 8, 2021 5:06 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s rapid surge in coronavirus infections, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, is again straining hospitals as patient admissions spike to levels not recorded since last winter’s surge.

The state Health Department’s latest report showed that the current COVID-19 surge has boosted Indiana hospitalizations to 2,513 patients as of Tuesday. That’s double the number of patients from a month ago and a level hospitals didn’t see until pandemic-highs in early November.

Hospitals reported treating 680 people with COVID-19 in intensive care units, taking up more than 31% of available ICU beds. Statewide, just over 80% of all ICU beds are occupied.

Some Indiana hospitals have announced delays in some non-emergency surgeries, while others have started diverting ambulances away from their emergency rooms and intensive care units.

As of Monday, Indiana University Health, the state’s largest hospital system, began to put off all elective inpatient procedures for at least two weeks. Hospital officials said the suspension will be extended if needed in two-week periods.

Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis has also canceled all such procedures through at least Sept. 24.

Major Health Partners in Shelby County said that COVID-19 admissions have increased “significantly” in the last 30 days. The Shelbyville hospital has reached capacity — with one inpatient bed available as of Wednesday — and staff have been “stretched to their limits,” hospital president and CEO Jack Horner said in a statement.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s latest statewide executive order released last week does not impose any restrictions on surgical procedures as he had done during last year’s coronavirus surges.

The Republican governor’s new rules instead instruct hospitals to make “evidence-based decisions” and to suspend elective procedures when necessary.

The order also requires hospitals to report daily to the state about when they go on diversion, and to share how many adult and pediatric beds they have on a daily basis.

About 53.6% of Indiana residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the 16th-lowest rate among the states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State health officials, meanwhile, say 98% of recent COVID-19 hospitalizations are for unvaccinated people.

Of the 1,442 new COVID-19 admissions to Indiana hospitals during the week of Aug. 22-29, less than 20 of those were vaccinated individuals, according to the state health department.

The coronavirus risk ratings updated weekly by the Indiana State Health Department now put nearly all counties in the higher risk categories for COVID-19 spread.

Those updated ratings, released Wednesday, placed 21 of Indiana’s 92 counties in the highest-risk red category, the most since mid-January.

Sixty-eight counties received the next-highest orange rating. Only three counties were in the lower-level yellow category. A month ago, just one county was listed as red and 62 had the lowest-level yellow and blue ratings as the highly contagious delta variant was hitting the state.

State health officials have maintained that if more Hoosiers don’t get vaccinated and wear masks, virus spread and hospitalizations will worsen though at least early October. They’ve also attributed the recent surge, in part, to students’ return to schools.

More than 6,300 new cases were reported among Indiana students in the state health department’s weekly update of the its coronavirus school dashboard on Tuesday. Only about 1,000 of those cases dated back to the previous week, however.

The dashboard also reported 338 new cases among teachers and 488 new cases among other school staff employees.

Still, the dashboard data doesn’t provide the full scope of virus spread within schools. More than 700 schools — nearly one-third of all Indiana schools — have not reported cases to the state’s dashboard as mandated by law since the start of the new academic year.

A health department spokesperson said state health officials are “exploring options” to compel schools to comply.

___

Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1680908

Reported Deaths: 28023
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook63626111214
DuPage1086211379
Will915681128
Lake802871090
Kane68604874
Winnebago41222561
Madison40178598
St. Clair36326599
McHenry34856331
Champaign27087197
Peoria26991368
Sangamon25818287
McLean23073220
Tazewell20689331
Rock Island18919362
Kankakee17959249
Kendall16268114
Macon15344252
LaSalle15078287
Vermilion14453201
Adams13188152
DeKalb12201134
Williamson12091175
Whiteside8328183
Jackson810494
Boone796583
Coles7918125
Ogle759290
Grundy741386
Franklin7339115
Knox7321169
Clinton7136102
Macoupin6988106
Marion6935144
Henry666177
Effingham6639100
Jefferson6573143
Livingston599498
Stephenson587893
Woodford578492
Randolph5563100
Christian536682
Fulton527977
Monroe5258103
Morgan5088100
Logan495675
Montgomery492882
Lee479760
Bureau444291
Saline436169
Perry433975
Fayette432464
Iroquois422577
McDonough374861
Shelby349848
Jersey336953
Lawrence335533
Crawford333730
Douglas328437
Union307748
Wayne304863
White280833
Richland280157
Hancock274435
Clark266940
Cass266531
Pike265658
Edgar260649
Clay259854
Bond257525
Ford246059
Warren244866
Carroll237138
Moultrie236333
Johnson229732
Wabash217319
Jo Daviess216629
Massac216551
Mason214452
Washington212928
De Witt206530
Greene205640
Mercer205036
Piatt202814
Cumberland190126
Menard172513
Jasper161621
Marshall141721
Hamilton134222
Schuyler108810
Brown106610
Pulaski104612
Edwards104118
Stark81828
Gallatin7939
Alexander73212
Scott7126
Henderson70914
Calhoun6932
Hardin60916
Putnam5674
Pope5566
Unassigned1342433
Out of IL140

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 1007681

Reported Deaths: 16470
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1355212121
Lake664101166
Allen57993801
Hamilton46350465
St. Joseph44397615
Elkhart35949510
Vanderburgh32251480
Tippecanoe27933260
Johnson25107445
Hendricks23897359
Porter22929365
Madison18748409
Clark18557252
Vigo17479303
Monroe15263200
LaPorte15173250
Delaware15073263
Howard14748290
Kosciusko12348148
Hancock11728176
Bartholomew11639180
Warrick11292189
Floyd11108215
Wayne10986253
Grant10082220
Morgan9472176
Boone8926115
Dubois8271131
Henry8229152
Dearborn822393
Noble8031106
Marshall7939135
Cass7546121
Lawrence7457171
Shelby7189119
Jackson698289
Gibson6597115
Harrison649192
Knox6421106
Huntington6395100
DeKalb632399
Montgomery6264111
Miami593398
Putnam581278
Clinton576171
Whitley565755
Steuben562576
Wabash5332104
Jasper532079
Jefferson511297
Ripley500586
Adams482576
Daviess4677114
Scott438974
Greene425196
Wells424888
Clay423360
White418764
Decatur4169102
Fayette406587
Jennings387361
Posey376644
Washington359151
LaGrange359078
Randolph3452100
Spencer340243
Fountain335760
Sullivan329452
Starke317171
Owen314771
Fulton312667
Orange293664
Jay284645
Franklin265643
Perry265452
Rush262432
Carroll261934
Vermillion258654
Parke231426
Pike229243
Tipton228159
Blackford193142
Pulaski183757
Crawford159823
Newton158348
Benton150617
Brown146747
Martin138719
Switzerland135011
Warren121116
Union107016
Ohio84613
Unassigned0540