INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana’s hospitals will have to postpone elective surgeries starting next
week under an order the state’s governor said Wednesday was needed to free
up hospital capacity amid steep recent increases in serious COVID-19
An initial shipment
of some 55,000 doses of the first coronavirus vaccine is expected to arrive
at Indiana hospitals next week as front-line health care workers start to
Gov. Eric Holcomb
said that hospitals were being directed to postpone all non-urgent
in-patient surgeries beginning Dec. 16 through Jan. 3.
Indiana is “on fire” with coronavirus spread as the number of Indiana
counties with the highest risk level of coronavirus spread more than doubled
in the state health department’s weekly update. The tracking map labels 36
of the state’s 92 counties the most dangerous red category, up from 16 a
week ago. All other counties are in the next riskiest orange rating.
The state halted
elective medical procedures for most of April. but Holcomb lifted that
restriction as concerns eased about availability of equipment and protective
gear. But Indiana’s hospitals are currently treating more than quadruple the
number of COVID-19 patients than they were in September, with health
officials worried about hospitals being overwhelmed.
“Our nurses and our
doctors, understandably, are overwhelmed and beyond exhausted ... to go into
one of the toughest environments that anyone in our state’s history has had
to face on a day in, day out basis,” Holcomb said.
Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the surgery restrictions will allow
hospitals to shift health care workers to help care for patients with
Republican, said he was extending the statewide mask order and toughening
restrictions on crowd sizes that he reinstated in mid-November.
The new rules will
prevent local health departments from allowing exemptions for social
gatherings of more than 25 people in counties with red ratings and more than
50 people in orange-rated counties. Religious services are exempt from those
extracurricular events for K-12 schools in red counties can have only
participants and parents in attendance, while professional and college
sports events are limited to 25% capacity with local health department
approval of safety plans.
scheduled to receive about 55,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine next
week if it gains the Food and Drug Administration’s expected authorization
for emergency use, said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the state health department’s
chief medical officer.
vaccines will be shipped to five hospitals around the state: Clark Memorial
in Jeffersonville, Deaconess in Evansville, IU Health Methodist in
Indianapolis, Community Hospital in Munster and Parkview in Fort Wayne.
Those hospitals were picked for geographic diversity and their ability to
provide the ultracold storage needed for the vaccine, Weaver said.
calls for some 400,000 healthcare workers to make up the first wave of those
receiving shots during December. That includes doctors, nurses, dentists,
first responders, laboratory workers and medical students. Those
vaccinations will be performed at 50 hospitals statewide.