Indiana not detailing ICU capacity as coronavirus cases grow

Indiana health officials declined Wednesday to provide details on hospital capacity around the state as its number of confirmed coronavirus-related illnesses continued to grow quickly and two more deaths were reported.

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 4:58 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2020 11:11 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana health officials declined Wednesday to provide details on hospital capacity around the state as its number of confirmed coronavirus-related illnesses continued to grow quickly and two more deaths were reported.

Indiana’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped by 115 to reach a total of 477, the Indiana State Department of Health said. The new deaths in Hancock and Howard counties were the first ones in each county, giving the state 14 total deaths as a statewide stay-at-home order took effect Wednesday aimed at slowing spread of the virus.

Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said during a news conference that state officials are keeping confidential information provided by hospitals about their intensive care unit capacity and equipment availability. She said she’s seeing “positive movements” in availability of ICU beds and ventilators.

“Because everybody is stepping up to the plate and trying to pretty much double their ICU capacity, I’m seeing those numbers increase as we go along,” Box said.

In contrast, Illinois officials have provided updates such as the number of occupied hospital beds and ventilators in use around the state and projections on what medical services will be needed if the virus outbreak isn’t contained.

Two more deaths from illness related to the coronavirus were reported Wednesday in Indiana, giving the state a total of 14 deaths as a statewide stay-at-home order took effect to limit the spread of the virus.

Indiana’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grew by 115 to reach a total of 477 across the state late Tuesday, following corrections to Indiana’s previous total reported Tuesday, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s order issued Monday for Indiana residents to remain at home for two weeks began early Wednesday. The order has exceptions for workers in essential industries or for necessary trips for food and medicine, to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Holcomb’s order continues through April 6, but he said it could be extended.

Indiana’s order mirrors similar ones in adjacent Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, and directs Hoosiers to stay at home unless their job is an essential function, such as a health care provider, grocery store clerk, police, fire and other first responders, or those working in garbage collection, public transit and key state services.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Marion County, home of Indianapolis, had most of the state’s new coronavirus cases reported Tuesday — 67 — bringing its total to 226 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Central Indiana accounts for the majority of the state’s confirmed cornavirus illnesses. Aside from Marion County’s, Hamilton County, just north of Indianapolis, had 30 cases and Johnson County, just south of the state capital, had 24. Hendricks County, west of Indianapolis, had 15 cases.

Northern Indiana’s St. Joseph and Lake counties had 19 cases each. No other Indiana counties had 10 or more confirmed cases by late Tuesday.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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