INDIANAPOLIS — The number of Hoosiers infected by COVID-19 jumped by more than 3,600 in just one day. Health care providers look at the record-setting increase with a mixture of surprise, sorrow and frustration.
At the same time, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett insists it's time for different counties to work as one in their fight against the virus.
Tents already set up outside the IU Health Methodist Hospital emergency room are waiting for a new wave of patients. The incredible jump in new cases, Dr. Paul Calkins, chief medical executive for IU Health, admits took his breath away.
"People are going to be sick and some people will probably die," Calkins said.
COVID-19 has already killed more than 4,000 Hoosiers. Unlike the pandemic's first wave, which hit urban areas the hardest, the second wave of the coronavirus is rolling across Indiana.
"This time it is springing up literally all over the state," he explained. "It is everywhere, even in very rural counties."
Indianapolis is at the center of a nine-county metropolitan area. To slow the spread of COVID-19, Hogsett proposes the different public health departments work together, implementing common policies and programs.
"That acknowledge that our foe in this fight doesn't recognize county lines," Hogsett said.
The mayor had not yet discussed the plan with other county leaders.
"It is pretty logical to assume that if we are working together it will make us stronger not weaker," Hogsett said.
In the meantime, hospitals are bracing for another wave of COVID patients, fuller intensive care units, and more employees becoming infected with the virus.
Can the hospitals handle what's coming?
"Yes. We have been doing a tremendous amount of planning around this," Calkins said.
Hospitals have stocked up on PPE, revised their contingency plans, and improved treatments.
Along with a feeling of confidence, there is frustration.
Health care providers are certain COVID-19 could be slowed if more people wore masks and practiced social distancing.