JASPER — Dr. Stephen Sample is an ER physician in southern Indiana. Sample said the upward trend in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is concerning, not surprising.
"We went to Stage 5. It has been close to three weeks," Sample said. "Two weeks almost to the day that we started to get together in big groups, our numbers started to rise."
Indiana COVID-19 hospitalizations started off with a high 1,799 in April. The number decreased leading into the summer with hospitalizations across the state dropping to 595 at the end of June. However, hospitalizations started to increase after that, leading to a high of 1,357 as of October 13.
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The statewide positive cases by day follows the same as hospitalizations: high in the spring with a dip in the summer and then, a steady tick upwards toward the fall.
Dr. Sample said he hopes these numbers and trends finally convince people to take COVID-19 seriously.
"It's not gonna blow over. It's not gonna blow over when the election is over," Sample said. "At some point in the future, sure, it'll be gone or manageable to where we can get back to life."
As for dealing with COVID-19 during this upcoming flu season, that really worries Dr. Sample.
"We're going to see the perfect storm of influenza, hopefully a mild, vaccine covered strain and COVID," Sample said. "I haven't seen what COVID and influenza look like at the same time. I suspect it's sub-optimal. I don't want that for myself and especially for the elderly, but for anybody really."
Dr. Sample said getting your flu shot, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing are the best ways we to reduce risks as we head into the uncharted area of COVID-19 and influenza
"I think people need to really buckle down and understand the new normal is the new normal for awhile, 18 months, couple of years," Sample said.