MUNCIE, Ind. — IU Health East Central Region cautioned the community this week about a surge in COVID-19 patients in its three hospitals along the Interstate 69 corridor northeast of Indianapolis. IU Health Ball Memorial, Blackford and Jay Hospitals are treating an “all-time high of COVID-19 inpatients."
"Across the other IU Health hospitals, we're not experiencing that right now,” said Dr. Michele Saysana, IU Health chief quality & safety officer. “But it's something that we expect will happen from time to time in our hospitals, just because that's kind of the nature of COVID. It's really usually a reflection of what's going on in the community that that hospital is in as well."
Hospital and Delaware County health officials are reminding people about the importance of social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing a mask.
"It's hard to wear a mask,” said Saysana. “But it's something we have to do. And we want to be with friends and family. But we we've got to do it safely."
“We urge all citizens, both in Delaware County and statewide, to recognize the ongoing nature of this pandemic and the need to continue with precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Jammie Bane, Delaware County Health Department administrator in an email to 13News.
Statewide, hospitalizations for COVID-19 are climbing. As of Friday, hospitals reported 1,187 COVID patients. That's the highest number since back on May 21, when Indiana hospitals treated 1203 COVID patients. That number dipped in June, then climbed slowly. But the numbers have increased more rapidly the past two weeks.
State officials said those increases are in pockets across the state like right now in the Muncie area. But hospital bed space, staff and ICU equipment are not a concern.
"We've been planning for months and we've experienced it,” said Dr. Saysana. “Now we know how to move things around fairly easily, much better than we did back in March when this started. So, we'll be able to take care of our patients wherever they come. So, the one thing we also don't want people to do is to not seek the care that they need."
IU Health offers free virtual coronavirus screening statewide.