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Reid Health in Richmond handling record number of COVID patients

Of the approximately 3,500 people who work in the Reid Health network, nearly 250 are now working with COVID-19 care.
Credit: WTHR
Reid Health in Richmond, Indiana.

RICHMOND, Ind. — Reid Health in Richmond provides medical services to several east central Indiana counties and leaders say they're now at a critical level, thanks to COVID-19. On Monday, Nov. 9, Reid broke a record with 71 coronavirus patients. 

"That is actually a significantly higher number than we've had at any point in the pandemic so far," said Dr. Thomas Huth, vice president of Medical Affairs for Reid Health.

The previous record was 64 patients back in April. It had dropped to as low as 11 in July. 

Space inside the hospital is at a premium, where a conference area and cancer treatment area now house patients as doctors have had to get creative.

"How can these patients, who are already in the hospital, be moved on to the next level of care and create that space? But that's very challenging and very stressful for people," Huth said.

It's also taking a toll on staff. Of the approximately 3,500 people who work in the Reid Health network, nearly 250 are now working with COVID-19 care and many of them are working overtime.

"The stress of working with the COVID-19 patients, the stress of trying to manage rest of the system around them to create space introduces exhaustion," Huth said.

Huth said there is some good news: more is now understood about COVID-19 and there are plenty of supplies including ventilators. In fact, fewer patients are having to use them now compared to earlier this year; but as the holidays near, leaders are hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst.

"We're not at any risk of imploding or shutting down, that's not going to happen. But if numbers continue to rise, we won't have much choice but to look at cutting back again on other services that we provide to the community," Huth explained.