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Indiana may have already peaked with COVID-19, health data expert says

Hospitalizations are flattening statewide
PEAK PIC.jpg
Posted at 1:58 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 18:43:51-04

INDIANAPOLIS—Indiana may have already peaked when it comes to COVID-19, according to a health data expert who has been tracking the virus.

Dr. Brian Dixon is the Director of Public Health Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, and he is also a faculty member with IU’s Fairbanks School of Public Health.

He gathers data on hospitalizations to help the Indiana State Department of Health get a better picture of what’s going on with COVID-19.

He also created the Regenstrief Institute’s dashboard on COVID-19, which is considered complimentary to the state’s dashboard.

Statewide numbers show the number of hospitalizations has flattened over the past week or so, with 2,617 hospitalizations on April 23.

STATEWIDE COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS

  • April 23- 2,617
  • April 22- 2,606
  • April 21- 2,588
  • April 20- 2,554
  • April 19- 2,506
  • April 18- 2,452
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"People are still getting diagnosed with the disease, but many of the people are not going to a hospital which means they may have mild symptoms, they may be asymptomatic and able to remain at home,” said Dixon. “Which would be good in not spreading it to other people "

Dixon said at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, there was a sharp increase in hospitalizations that have now started to level off.

"I think there's some indications with hospitalizations being flattened that we may have already peaked,” said Dixon. “This is a good indication of that. Typically, the leading edge would be new deaths, and some of those are smaller this week. Hospitalizations remain flat— both of those together tell us that we may have already peaked. "

State health officials previously said most of Indiana would likely peak in early May, but Dixon says the new numbers show social distancing and stay at home orders have changed the state’s forecast.

“The numbers in some parts of the state are still rising but those are primarily outside of the Indianapolis region,” said Dixon. “In the Central Indiana area, hospitalizations have already begun to fall which is a really good sign.”

Indianapolis area hospitals were covering around 800 persons to just over 600 persons this week, which is also a good sign and will likely mean that hospitals in this part of the state will begin to do some of the surgeries they put off at the start of COVID next month, said Dixon.

“I am optimistic that these trends continue, enabling our health system to return to normal at the same time all of us begin to return to normal, or whatever normal will be going forward,” said Dixon.

The average hospital stay for a COVID-19 patient is around 12 days, according to the Regenstrief Institute’s data.