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Local hospitals seeing increase in COVID-19 patients

Health leaders attribute it to "pandemic fatigue" and family gatherings
Posted at 6:32 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 18:32:11-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Hospitals in central Indiana are starting to see a spike in COVID-19 patients again.

Leaders with Community Health Network and IU Health say the number of people needing to be hospitalized for COVID-19 is steadily rising.

“We’re at the same level of hospitalization that we were at the first week of May,” said Dr. Ram Yeleti, chief physician executive with Community Health Network. “We have seen a significant escalation week by week, day by day over the past month or so, so that’s very concerning.”

IU Health is seeing a similar trend.

“We have 176 patients in our hospital (system-wide), seven days ago we had 124. It has gone up every day,” said Dr. Paul Calkins, chief medical officer at IU Health.

“We are seeing a lot of patients being admitted from small family gatherings," Calkins said. "You might recall in the spring we were having problems in nursing homes and jails, but this doesn’t appear to be the same phenomenon. This is more of people who have felt the need to break the social distancing rules. I think everyone has developed what we call ‘pandemic fatigue.’ They just feel the need to see someone, so Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, they are times of concern from a pandemic standpoint."

Yeleti said he is seeing the same thing.

“People are getting it from their family and friends and not from strangers,” Yeleti said.

He said we could continue to see more cases over the next couple of months.

“What I'm terrified about is the two weeks after Thanksgiving because everybody desperately wants to be with each other," Yeleti said. "You have people who are either going to be traveling into the state or out of the state and you're going to be in contact with people that may not have quarantine, so I'm nervous about the country and the amount of hospitals from two weeks after Thanksgiving until January.”

To protect your family he recommends keeping any gatherings outdoors if possible and continue to wear a mask.