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Thanksgiving-related surge in COVID-19 cases could hit hospitals any day

Many are already bursting at the seams
Posted at 6:40 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 18:55:24-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Many Central Indiana hospitals that are already feeling the strain from an increase in COVID-19 patients are now preparing for another surge.

Those who may have been infected over Thanksgiving could start getting sick and showing symptoms any day now.

“There are so many ups and downs. He would make progress but then take a couple steps back again. We were told he would die… that is so scary,” said Stephanie Singh. Her father-in-law spent more than 100 days on a ventilator due to COVID-19. After months of battling the virus, he recovered and was released back in September.

The Singh family is not alone. COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase across the country.

“We frequently have way more patients holding in the emergency department waiting for a bed than normal. Many of the hospitals around town, including ours, have had to be placed on diversion for emergency services off and on over the last couple weeks,” said Dr. Christopher Doehring, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Franciscan Health.

He said the worst could be yet to come. "We are probably still a little early from when we would expect to see the additive effect of Thanksgiving on top of what we are already experiencing.”

Leaders at Eskenazi Health are saying the same thing. "We are anticipating more patients coming in post-Thanksgiving. That could be anywhere from seven days to two weeks after the holiday,” said Dr. Graham Carlos, Chief of Medicine at Eskenazi Health. “We’ve been preparing for weeks, flexing beds to make them more ICU capable, making sure we have staff on hand.”

Staffs at both hospitals doing what they can, hoping those who do come in recover, like Singh.

“The week of Thanksgiving he got in the driver seat and he drove us home,” said Stephanie Singh about her father-in-law. “A month ago he was not breathing on his own, weeks ago he was not walking on his own, and now he's behind the driver seat. That was just so amazing.”

Singh knows not everyone is as lucky and she hopes people keep taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Try to do everything you can to keep your family and loved ones safe. You don't want to be in the situation we were in. There's a lot of guilt when you may have been the reason one of your family members got COVID. Being told he was going to die, it was really scary you know, it's just not worth it.”