INDIANAPOLIS — Now that the omicron variant has reached Indiana, doctors at Franciscan Health are sounding the alarm and urging the public to get vaccinated now more than ever.
“It was only a matter of time before that particular variant arrived in Indiana,” Dr. Christopher Doehring, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Franciscan Health Central Indiana, said.
Dr. Doehring has spent the last twelve years with Franciscan Health and has more than 25 years of experience in the medical field. He said even though the variant has arrived in Indiana, they are still seeing very low numbers.
“As the delta variant subsides, we expect the omicron variant to become more prominent, in the weeks to come,” Dr. Doehring said.
Federal health officials said Monday that omicron accounted for an estimated 73% of new infections last week. So far, the Indiana Department of Health has only talked about one case of omicron.
With little information available regarding the omicron variant, one of the many questions that Dr. Doehring typically receives is "why does it keep spreading when so many people have already been infected?"
“It just speaks to how contagious these viruses truly are,” Dr. Doehring said.
The emergence of the new variant comes as Franciscan Health is under its latest surge. The hospital is seeing its highest amounts of patients since mid-November.
“We’ve had waves that came and went, right now it’s an uptrend wave - we know a little bit more about it and how to care for them,” RN Baylee Allen said.
Allen has been a nurse for the last three years at Franciscan Health. The Bloomington native describes the pandemic as a series of unknowns.
“The unknown is that going into a patient’s room and having a full on conversation with them, getting to know them and in the next 15 minutes the patient isn’t able to speak to you,” Allen said.
Allen credits the hospital's success to having a great staff around her. Allen and the rest of the nurses work day in and day out includes making sure each patient is taken care of. Allen says getting vaccinated is the most important step to ending the pandemic.
“The benefits outweigh the risk, get your vaccination,” she said.