INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to climb, increasing more than 20% within the past week, according to data from the Indiana Department of Health.
“Our hospital is pretty much full,” said Dr. Thomas Huth, vice president for medical affairs at Reid Health. “We’re sitting at or beyond capacity.”
At Reid Health’s Richmond hospital, COVID-19 hospitalizations are at their highest levels in more than two months, Dr. Huth said.
According to Dr. Huth, about 75% of the hospital’s COVID patients were never vaccinated. The remaining quarter were, but many of those patients had not received a third vaccine dose or booster shot, he added.
“Our conclusion is that so far, it looks like really what’s happening is we’ve got this waning immunity, which we all know happens now,” Dr. Huth said.
Although other Indiana hospitals aren’t treating as many people with breakthrough cases, they’re seeing similar surges in COVID patients overall.
At Deaconess Clinic in Evansville, COVID hospitalizations have more than doubled in the past two weeks.
“We’re juggling every day and every minute to find beds and find places to put our patients,” said Dr. Brad Scheu, senior vice president and chief medical officer.
“Our nurses are getting creative – we’re opening up more space,” he added.
Only 20% of the state’s ICU beds are available, according to the Indiana Department of Health.
Indiana hospitals have also been busy in recent months treating a high volume of patients with non-COVID illnesses.
“We have several other respiratory viruses going on,” including RSV, said Dr. Christopher Belcher, infection prevention medical director at Ascension St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital. “People catching up on their medical conditions.”
Doctors say it’s hard to predict what hospitals will see this winter. Although it’s early in the flu season, experts fear it will be much different from last year when the state saw very few flu cases.
Right now, Indiana hospitals are trying to be as prepared as possible.
“We don’t have any more beds we can open up, so … we are looking at what kind of different contingency plans do we need to have?” said Dr. Ram Yeleti, chief physician executive for Community Health Network.
Doctors urge Hoosiers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu. They also encourage third doses or booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are eligible.