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Doctors concerned about potential new surge after New Year's Eve gatherings

Health care workers hope Hoosiers play it safe Friday night.

INDIANAPOLIS — Doctors fear New Year's Eve celebrations could bring yet another COVID-19 surge, even as healthcare facilities struggle with unprecedented patient counts.

"There could be somebody at a hospital in Indianapolis doing CPR on an ICU COVID patient as the ball drops tonight, and you can imagine the toll that would have on the health care worker seeing all this play out, just wondering, you know, does anybody care anymore?" said Dr. Graham Carlos, executive medical director at Eskenazi Health.

Carlos said they just put two more COVID-positive patients on ventilators at Eskenazi. His harsh reality doesn't stop for a holiday.

"13 of the 20 patients I just saw had respiratory failure from COVID-19," said Carlos.

Beds are full in intensive care units at virtually every hospital right now. Even hospitals in neighboring states are requesting transfers because they're maxed out in critical care.

"I've gotten in the habit of asking the caller 'what call number was I for you?' and I've heard anywhere from ten up to 45 from a caller from Kentucky yesterday," Carlos said.

With omicron, there are a few more breakthrough cases happening, according to Carlos. Most of those have underlying lung conditions.

"We are seeing some breakthrough infections in vaccinated patients," said Carlos. "I have yet to see a breakthrough infection in a vaccinated-plus-boosted patient."

RELATED: State’s COVID-19 cases lower than actual number as at-home tests go unreported

That booster, experts say, is key in protecting you from getting seriously sick. And heading into a crowd-centric weekend - a Colts game and New Year's celebrations - Carlos says wear a mask, try to social distance and, for some, skip the parties altogether.

RELATED: Indy-area hospitals launch campaign telling public they're at breaking point

"If you live with somebody who's immuno-suppressed or older and at risk for severe disease, this new strain omicron is so incredibly contagious that your risk of getting it and giving it to someone you care about is high," Carlos said. "So you want to avoid those situations."

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