An emergency room doctor issued a warning about the number of people being admitted for COVID-19 statewide in Indiana.
"COVID hospitalizations have been ramping up significantly over the past several weeks," said Dr. Christian Ross, emergency medicine physician at Community Health Network.
Dr. Ross, who is also part of the Indiana State Medical Association, said he’s been treating patients for COVID-19, many of them unvaccinated and being treated in the hospital much longer for complex conditions.
"Some unfortunately are in kidney failure when they arrive. Some also have heart effects like myocarditis due to COVID that we admit them into the hospital with. Normally those patients stay for quite some time," Dr. Ross said. "I mean that’s really putting a burden on the health system because we’re used to being able to see patients and being able to discharge them in a few days afterwards."
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The Indiana Hospital, Indiana State Medical, and Indiana State Nurses Associations issued a joint statement Tuesday raising the red flag.
Health leaders said hospitalizations are rising dramatically in Indiana, up 66% over the past three weeks and approaching 75% of the peak of the pandemic last November in Indiana.
"I mean the availability of resources to take care of these patients are limited, sometimes not even available," he said. "Hospital beds for these patients aren't available at most places; we’ve seen wait times in emergency departments skyrocket because we’re not able to get patients upstairs to their inpatient beds, but instead they just stay in their emergency room."
Dr. Ross said they're seeing the problem from metropolitan to rural areas.
"We're seeing it everywhere, but I’d say the rural areas are probably the hardest hit," he said. "From my discussion with some of my colleagues, the urban areas are hit as well. It’s really predominately unvaccinated patients that are coming in from all those areas."
Data from the Indiana Department of Public Health shows an increase in the number of COVID patients over the past seven days. COVID patients make up 24.1% of the ICU beds available as of Wednesday statewide.
"It’s ramping up, so we fully anticipate it continuing to take off especially with the unknowns of the new variant we anticipate the hospitals being overwhelmed again like they were before,” he said.
Dr. Ross said hospitals are faced with tough scenarios - and so are families this holiday season.
"I’m worried about us going into the holiday season, when folks are going to want to get back together and enjoy their families, that we’re going to see a significantly overwhelming number of COVID patients in our hospitals. It’s just not sustainable to keep this way,” he said.
Gov. Eric Holcomb extended the state's COVID public health emergency for another 30 days. It was set to expire on Nov. 30.