Community Health Network chief physician reflects on one year of pandemic

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For an entire year, people in the health care industry have been with thousands of Hoosiers during some of the worst days of their lives as they fight the coronavirus. They’ve been with thousands more as they passed without being alongside their loved ones.

On March 6, 2020, Indiana reported its first case of the coronavirus. Governor Eric Holcomb declared a public health emergency on that day. One year later, Dr. Ram Yeleti, the chief physician executive at Community Health Network, is reflecting on one year of the pandemic with FOX59. He says right away, hospitals started taking precautions.

“We had no idea what was going on with it, how lethal it was going to be, how it was going to affect other people,” Dr. Yeleti said.

He realized within the first two weeks that the coronavirus would affect every aspect of our lives.

“By that point, I realized everything was going to just stop. This was going to be everything we do for the foreseeable future,” Dr. Yeleti said. “I realized there would be a sense of urgency in everything we do for many weeks to come at that time.”

Dr. Yeleti said the busiest time for him was April. Hundreds of Hoosiers were testing positive for the virus every day, and hospitals were still trying to figure out how to handle it.

“We didn’t have anything,” he said. “We didn’t have nearly enough testing, near enough PPE and we didn’t have any good treatments.”

That’s all different now, he says. His team understands how to address the coronavirus, and they’re settling into a “covid norm.” Dr. Yeleti is also feeling hopeful. There are now three coronavirus vaccines available. More than one million Hoosiers have received their first dose.

“The beginning of the end of covid is here,” Dr. Yeleti said. “It was a terrible year, and I would never want to repeat it again, but it shows the ingenuity and the caring and compassion of every single American that we’ll get through this and we’ll get through it together by working together.”

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