INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Hospital Association issued an urgent message asking the public to get vaccinated as hospitals across the area are stretched thin with a major increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
It's been nearly 18 months since Indiana identified its first case of coronavirus in the state.
Since that first case was identified, hospital staff has been slammed with preparations, then testing and hospitalizations.
Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor said hospital staff is stretched thin as the delta variant surges in the state. He said hospitalizations are on the rise, up 288% since July 4.
"It's really difficult to staff all our beds," Tabor said.
State hospitalizations are a little less than half of what they were at the peak of the pandemic in November, but Tabor said the staffing shortage Indiana is experiencing now is greater than when COVID-19 first emerged in 2020.
"What we’re seeing right now is the result of many, many months of being on the front lines of this pandemic," he said. "We're at the end of a marathon, it feels like, and now, it feels like we're going to have to start running again."
So what can you do to help?
Tabor says get vaccinated. The majority of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are unvaccinated patients. Since January, 98% of COVID-19 hospitalizations have occurred among unvaccinated patients.
At this point, Indiana hospitals are managing to get by, but Tabor's statement stands as a warning that if things don't begin looking up soon, many people could be impacted.
"[Workers] need to take care of patients that are waiting for those surgeries, they need to be ready for those coming in with accidents. So if we could increase our vaccinations a little bit, it could relieve some of that pressure," he said.
Tabor reiterated hospitals in the area are still able to treat patients but urges Hoosiers to get vaccinated so staff can continue to treat everyone who comes in through the door.