INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana hospitals have increased the state’s intensive care unit capacity by
about one-third in the past few weeks in preparation for an expected surge
in coronavirus-related illnesses, state officials said Monday.
Having such ICU
capacity available has been a prime concern as health officials also
reported that the state had 1,786 confirmed COVID-19 cases in a seven-fold
increase from a week earlier. Indiana’s 35 virus deaths are five times
greater in that time.
have added about 500 critical care beds to give the state 1,940 as of
Monday, said Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, secretary of the state’s Family and
Social Services Administration.
said about 60% of those ICU beds were in use, Sullivan said hospitals
continued working to create more ICU capacity by steps such as converting
operating and recovery rooms space. The state’s goal is to double the
pre-virus intensive care capacity and Indiana’s count of 1,177 ventilators
to meet an anticipated COVID-19 case surge in the coming weeks, she said.
capacity statistics were the first ones released by Indiana officials after
they declined to provide them last week, even as Illinois and other states
were doing so.
Health, which has 17 hospitals around the state, is taking steps such as
retraining staffers who haven’t worked in critical care positions recently
to have enough personnel available, said Dr. Chris Weaver, an emergency
physician and a senior vice president for the system.
“That’s a major
constraint and a big challenge for us to meet this wave that’s coming our
way,” Weaver said.
reported today the state’s virus death toll is 49. The state’s number of
confirmed cases has grown to 2159. Those don’t reflect all cases in the
state because testing has been largely limited to those who are hospitalized
and health care workers.
Nearly 86 percent
of Indiana COVID-19 deaths through Sunday have been among people 60 or
older, according to the state health department.
Dr. Kristina Box,
the state health commissioner, said Indiana’s illness peak is still expected
in mid- to late-April, but some prediction models show that lasting long.
“It could be as
late as mid-May. We don’t know,” Box said. “That surge could be more of a
flattened-type surge and that would be over a longer period of time.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb
said he communicated Monday with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, a day
after the former Indiana health commissioner included Indianapolis on a list
of emerging COVID-19 hotspots he posted on Twitter. Indianapolis and its
seven surrounding counties had 63% of the state’s confirmed cases and about
half its deaths as of Monday.
Holcomb said he
appreciated the attention that federal officials are paying to all states
and encouraged all residents to obey the state stay-at-home order he issued
“We need everyone
to be playing by the rules,” Holcomb said.