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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Local hospitals see uptick in COVID-19 cases, fear rise in numbers

As shots go into the arms of more than a million Hoosiers and counting, hospitals across the area say they are still seeing an increase in cases.

INDIANAPOLIS — Some local hospitals are seeing a concerning trend: New cases of COVID-19 are ticking back up across the state. 

Thursday alone, nearly 1,400 additional cases were reported in Indiana. Nearly 800 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized, and hospitals told 13News they are suddenly treating more younger people sickened by COVID-19. 

RELATED: Here's everything we know about the COVID-19 vaccine

At Community Health Network, their numbers quadrupled to 40 cases in just two weeks. The patient's median age is just 45 years old.

"These patients in their forties 40s are just as sick as those that were in their seventies and eighties," said Dr. Robin Ledyard, chief medical officer.

There is a similar growing crisis at the much smaller Johnson Memorial Hospital. When looking at the five COVID-positive patients, four of them are under the age of 50.

"You know, it is scary when you see these people, a 26-year-old, on a ventilator," said Dr. David Dunkle, CEO and president of Johnson Memorial Health. "It doesn't make you feel good."

Some health care providers fear the situation is going to get worse.

"I think we are in the beginning of a fourth surge," Ledyard said. "I am worried about that. I hope, we really hope, it doesn't get to the numbers we had around the holidays."

Unchecked, many believe there could be a perfect pandemic storm.

A new more contagious form of the COVID virus is spreading just as vacation and other travel is increasing, and pandemic restrictions are being relaxed or eliminated.

"I think it is people feeling complacent with the vaccines and possibly letting their guard down and possibly not wearing masks," Ledyard said.

Credit: AP
Empty Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine vials are collected in a tray to be destroyed to prevent them from being resold or refilled, at a vaccination center in the Victor Jara Stadium in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

That's all while people begin to trickle out of quarantine. They are socializing more, distancing less, and forgetting the basics.

"It shows the importance of getting vaccinated, one, and two, until you are vaccinated wear your mask, social distance and follow hand hygiene," Dunkle said.

Preventing or surviving another surge of COVID-19 is, for the most part, in our hands and arms.