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Carmel renews Feed the Frontlines initiative amid rising COVID cases, hospitalizations

The city of Carmel said hospitals are working 24/7 to respond to rising virus cases and restaurants are facing new setbacks and potential closures.

CARMEL, Ind. — The city of Carmel is renewing an effort to give frontline workers hot meals provided by local restaurants that need the business to keep staff employed. 

The city said Feed the Frontlines Carmel is a "true win-win" because healthcare workers will get nourishing meals and local restaurants will receive the critical business they need to remain open. 

Feed the Frontlines Carmel was originally launched in April of 2020. It was later suspended when the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations subsided. However, the city said that due to a surge of recent COVID-19 hospitalizations, "a reinstatement of the program is necessary." 

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 1,630 new positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, along with 44 more deaths. To date, Indiana has recorded 988,765 positive cases and 15,586 deaths from the virus.

Hospitalizations continue to decline. On Monday, there were 1,729 patients being treated for COVID-19 in Indiana hospitals. That's compared to 2,687 one month ago. But, healthcare professionals say a nationwide hospital staffing shortage is presenting a new challenge that's burning out healthcare workers faster than they can be brought in. 

"What we are seeing in nursing across the country and Indiana, in Indianapolis, is something I've never seen in my entire life. It's unprecedented," said Lee Ann Blue, chief nursing officer and executive vice president of patient care services at Eskenazi Health. 

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The city of Carmel said hospitals are again working around the clock to respond to increasing coronavirus cases and local restaurants still challenged from the initial wave of the pandemic are facing additional setbacks and possible closures. 

Through the Feed the Frontlines initiative, meals from locally-owned restaurants will be delivered to frontline healthcare workers at IU Health North and Ascension St. Vincent Carmel hospitals.

The city said previous locally-owned participating restaurants will be contacted to see if they would like to participate again. 

People who own restaurants that are not affiliated with a national chain and are located within the Carmel city limits can contact Carol Dixon at cdixon@carmel.in.gov about participating.